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Sharpshooters working in Minn. bovine TB area

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Government sharpshooters are back in northwestern Minnesota reducing the deer herd in an attempt to stop the spread of bovine TB.

The Department of Natural Resources says Tuesday that the shooters will continue on the ground through the first part of April, aided by two weeks of aerial shooting in mid-March.

The sharpshooters are thinning the deer herd because experts fear the deer will spread the highly contagious pulmonary disease among cattle herds.

DNR helicopter surveys completed in early February show that there are about 660 deer in the 164-square-mile bovine TB core area. Similar helicopter surveys last year showed 800 deer in the core area.