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Help The DNR This Hunting Season: Send In Your Deer's Spleen! Eric Michel Explains
Deer Permit Areas

Hunters can help the DNR assess neonicotinoid exposure in deer by providing spleens from deer harvested this 2021 hunting season. Today we talked with Dr. Eric Michel - he's
a DNR ungulate research scientist.

Neonicotinoids, often referred to as neonics, are the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide and are found in more than 500 commercial and domestic products in the U.S. They are present in a wide array of products used for insect control in homes, gardens, yards and crops. They also are found in some pet pest control products.

High levels of these pesticides in captive deer have contributed to behavioral changes and reduced fawn survival. The DNR’s preliminary study in 2019 found that 61% of samples submitted detected presence of neonicotinoids. This year’s study will focus on certain deer permit areas to confirm that study’s results and help biologists select sites for future studies on the effects of neonicotinoids on deer.

Spleens will be accepted from deer harvested in deer permit areas 234, 237, 295, 296, 241, 214, 239, 240, 604, 172, 171 or 179. Successful participants will:

If you are interested in participating, complete this sign-up form. You will be mailed a sampling kit that includes instructions, a link to a video showing how to find the spleen and a postage-paid return box that can be dropped off at your local UPS location.

In addition to spleens, we talked about Chronic Wasting Disease and mandatory test sites - check here to see if your deer camp is included.

AND, Minnesota deer hunters are encouraged to report wildlife they see
during their upcoming hunts using an online questionnaire from the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“We’re asking hunters to share their observations of wildlife to help broaden our knowledge about deer and other wildlife species,” said Eric Michel, DNR ungulate
research scientist. “This is the questionnaire’s second year in use, and
we’re hoping to build on the helpful results from last year.”

The DNR uses the results from this crowdsourced data collection effort to
compare what hunters see to population estimates that are a baseline for
managing wildlife.

Using a mobile device or desktop computer, hunters can enter information on the DNR website (link is external) about wildlife they see during each day of hunting including deer, turkeys, bears, fishers and other species. Hunters also will be able to report specific information about any deer they harvest, including antler size. Hunters are encouraged to fill out a report after each hunt even if they don’t see any deer that day.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.