PINE ISLAND (AP) -- Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota's will be used to help the Department of Natural Resources determine the extent of an outbreak of chronic-wasting disease.

Starting Wednesday, the DNR will begin contacting landowners near Pine Island where a CWD-positive deer was shot last fall.

Hunting is expected to begin Thursday or Friday.

DNR big-game coordinator Lou Cornicelli says the goal right now is not to eradicate the deer herd, but instead to test a representative sample. He expects the number of deer killed probably will be more than 300 and less than 1,000.

Chronic wasting is a fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence CWD can spread to humans, but experts recommend against eating meat from infected animals.

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