Minnesota DNR debunks fear among deer hunters

April 29, 2024

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A recent article published by Field and Stream has sparked unnecessary fear and panic among Minnesota deer hunters according to the Minnesota DNR.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal brain disease from contaminated venison. A recent report stated that CWD was the cause of death of two hunters.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s Michelle Carstensen quickly debunked this story.

“The news article that was published in Field and Stream made it believe that for the first time ever, two humans were confirmed to have chronic wasting disease,” says Carstensen. “That announcement alone made the article go viral and it took digging into the article to realize there was no actual connection to chronic wasting disease.”

She adds that the story just isn’t accurate.

“The biggest concerning part of this report was that there was actually no factual evidence to link the discovery that the two elderly gentlemen had a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with chronic wasting disease, so there was no actual connection,” she said.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, rapidly worsening brain disorder that causes unique changes in brain tissue and affects muscle coordination thinking, and memory. There are about 350 cases per year in the U.S.

The National Deer Association is also chiming in saying the report is causing undue alarm about human health and CWD.

“Nothing about this new report changes current knowledge or guidance on CWD in deer,” says the NDA. “The evidence remains strong that CWD in deer and elk is not causing disease among hunters who consume infected animals.”

Carstensen says recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control are still in place to have hunters test their deer if hunting in areas with CWD.