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Letter to the editor: HWD (healthy wild deer), not CWD

Last year, 2018, was my best of 23 archery seasons. Perhaps the biggest highlight was setting a ladder stand with a friend and my 4-year-old son. Once the stand was up, my son stated he wanted to stay in the woods til dark to see some deer. Proud dad moment.

My 2018 season excitement soured on Feb. 15, when I heard CWD had been found in Crow Wing County next to a game farm. Why do we allow infected game farms to persist?

The University of Minnesota's director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy says, "I do believe that it is not a matter of if, but when, CWD crosses to humans." Who wants a warning label on your venison saying, "No matter how long you cook or freeze this meat, the CWD prions won't be destroyed."

Hunters currently have to wait about one week to find out if the harvested deer they have processed themselves or paid for processing is safe enough to eat. Who would keep walleyes if they had to wait over one week to determine if they're safe to eat? We need a rapid field test.

Hunters may not all agree on the safety concerns of eating CWD-infected meat; however, I think we all want the ability to manage deer on our land to a size we deem worthy of harvesting. If we let CWD take hold in our area, CWD may take that big buck weeks prior to opening weekend like this one from Richland County, Wisconsin, that tipped over in a hay field. Is this what we want?

Thank you DNR for your valiant CWD efforts thus far. Hunters - encourage your elected officials to take swift CWD action, reminding them we want HWD (healthy wild deer), not CWD.

Justin Barrick,