ST. STEPHEN -- The Department of Natural Resources is trying to figure out what caused about two dozen deer to die in Stearns County.

Area Fisheries Manager Eric Altena says all of the adult dead deer have been found west and south of the Rice Bridge toward St. Stephen.

He says they found two deer in "ok" condition that they brought to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. The initial inspection has shown no signs of anything clinical. Further lab samples were sent to the National Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Iowa, and some samples were also sent to Colorado State University. Altena says they're hoping to get those lab results back next week.

He says he understands why landowners in that area are concerned ahead of the upcoming hunting season.

Anytime you see more than a couple of deer that are dying it's obviously a concern.  If you have hunting property and are trying to manage a particular area certainly people have concern, and rightfully so.

Altena says if you find a deer that has died from unknown causes you should contact the DNR. For Stearns County residents it is the Sauk Rapids wildlife office at 320-223-7878, and for Benton County residents it is the Little Falls wildlife office at 320-616-2450.