Nerstrand Big Woods State Park in Rice County will be closed to visitors Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3 for a special deer hunt aimed at curbing the spread of chronic wasting disease in Minnesota’s wild deer herd.
“For public safety, the park will be closed to all visitors during the hunts,” said Ed Quinn, DNR’s parks and trails resource management supervisor. Special hunts are taking place in parts of southeastern Minnesota and in the south metro area.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park falls within the boundaries of the south metro disease management zone, known as deer permit area 605. Permits to deer hunt in the park are sold out. However, hunters on wildlife management areas or private lands within the deer permit areas included in this special hunt only need an unfilled 2020 deer season license or a disease management permit to hunt.
All hunters who harvest deer during the special hunts must submit a sample from their deer to a self-service sampling station for disease testing. Hunter cooperation is essential in DNR surveillance efforts.
“Special hunts are an important tool in CWD management,” said big game program leader Barb Keller. “These hunts allow us to reduce deer densities in areas where the disease has been detected. We are grateful deer hunters continue to participate in these special late season hunts.”
Special hunts are also taking place in other state parks. The DNR thanks visitors for their attention and adherence to safety measures. Details on which areas of each park are affected by the special deer hunts can be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park website pages.