PRESTON, Minn. - Preliminary tests indicate seven deer harvested in far southeastern Minnesota during the first firearms season may be infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says three of the seven were shot in deer permit area 603, where 11 additional deer tested positive last year for CWD. Three others were harvested inside Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, which is near Preston. The remaining infected deer was shot near Wycoff.

DNR wildlife research manager Lou Cornicelli says it isn’t clear whether the additional positives indicate a westward expansion of the disease or individual deer movements, given all the presumptive positive deer were adult males.

CWD testing is a two-step process. The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive. A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.

The DNR expects final test results and disease confirmations for all seven deer soon. Those results and any future positives in area 603 will be posted on the DNR website.