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DNR collecting deer spleens for testing

Jaclyn Harold
Created: November 08, 2019 09:41 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Hunting is a tradition for a lot of families. One that many can recall being passed down from generation to generation.

"Probably hundreds of years. I know my great-great-grandpa, he actually deer hunted and we have some of the antlers off of his bucks," said Olivia Reeve, the Archery manager at Scheels.

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With the firearms portion of deer hunting starting November 9, it's no surprise that Minnesotans statewide are gearing up for the opener.

"This year there's a lot more hype around deer season. Just being that CWD has kind of increased, so a lot more tags were issued," said Reeve.

With new findings in free-range deer, Chronic Waste Disease won't be the only thing being tested this year.

"We found some negative effects, especially with increasing levels of Neonicotinoids found in spleens," said Eric Michel, an Ungulate Research Scientist with The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Inspired by research done in South Dakota, the DNR  is looking to collect hundreds of deer spleens to test for levels of insecticides.

"We separated deer into four groups. A controlled group, a lower group, a medium, and a high group where we were administering neonics in the water," said Michel.

According to experts, the controlled group was the only set of deer that weren't exposed to the neonics, but they still tested positive for the pesticides. That information led researchers to believe environmentally, deer are still being exposed, whether through other water sources or corn and soybeans.

So far they've sent out over 1800 kits, and Michel says the DNR is expected around 800 in return. However, the information from the kits will not determine if there are any side effects from the neonicotinoids.

"All we're doing is trying to access what those neonics levels might be within our deer," said Michel.


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