Minnesota wildlife managers have been expecting this, but that still doesn’t make it welcome news.

For the first time, a wild deer in Minnesota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, which is fatal to deer, elk, and moose but not known to affect humans or cattle.

Chronic wasting disease naturally occurs in North American deer, moose and Rocky Mountain elk. It belongs to a group of infectious diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that also includes mad cow disease.

Chronic wasting disease had already been found in deer in Wisconsin and the Dakotas, so it’s not a huge surprise to find a case in Minnesota. The challenge now is to use this early discovery to contain and prevent the disease from spreading.

That’s the technical problem. The public relations problem is how this affects deer hunting in Minnesota, which involves a lot of people and brings in a lot of money every Fall.

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