(Preston, MN) -- The state Department of Natural Resources is announcing a special deer hunt to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease.

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The agency unveiled plans Monday to eradicate about 12-hundred deer in southeast Minnesota. The herd reduction will start December 31st with a 16 day hunting season in Fillmore County near Preston.

Later this month, a deer feeding ban goes into effect for residents of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties. All these counties adjoin the area west of Lanesboro where two CWD-infected deer recently were discovered.

According to the DNR, the feeding ban encompasses a wider area because the potential extent of the infection is not known and one of the most probable mechanisms for CWD spread among deer is over a food source that concentrates animals and allows close contact.