Hunters will again be able to have adult deer tested for CWD - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Hunters will again be able to have adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease


MADISON (Press Release) - State wildlife officials will again be testing white-tail deer shot by hunters this fall for chronic wasting disease in a continuing effort to monitor the status and spread of the disease in Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources will be testing deer from within and outside of the CWD management zone in south central and southeastern Wisconsin. The sampling strategies are aimed at detecting changes in the location and trends in prevalence of the disease. The plan focuses surveillance on adult deer – which are most likely to have the disease -- along the outer fringe of the CWD management zone.

"The testing is provided as a service to hunters but it is also an important tool for monitoring the disease," said Tim Marien, a DNR wildlife health biologist.

Samples will be taken from adult deer shot in an established monitoring area that include parts of Dane, Iowa, Rock and Walworth counties areas, and within an 84 square-mile area that encompasses Devil's Lake State Park.

"Sampling deer from these areas where there has been long-term monitoring of disease patterns is important to understanding the dynamics of this disease," Marien said. Biologists will also solicit voluntary sampling from deer shot within the CWD management zone in Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Green, and western Rock counties.

Outside of the CWD management zone, sampling will be focused around where a deer tested positive for the disease in Washburn County in northwestern Wisconsin and around where deer tested positive for CWD in Juneau, Adams, Portage, and Waukesha counties. The Deer Trustee Report completed last year noted that assessing the extent and distribution is a critical first step in dealing with the disease and should be accomplished as soon as possible.

In addition, testing will continue this year in the areas of Jackson and Sawyer counties that are being considered for potential elk range expansion.

"This is the second year of sampling in this area, where so far we have not detected the disease," Marien said.

The department will accept deer from anywhere within the CWD-MZ at hunters' request but will not solicit samples from fawns or areas that do not provide data for surveillance.

"We will also continue to test deer from outside the CWD-MZ that are brought by hunters to sampling stations." Marien said

All sampling stations are currently open or will be open by mid-October. People can find sampling stations by searching the DNR website for keyword "CWD," and then clicking on the link for "registration and sampling." Hunters should call stations in advance to verify hours of operation.

Samples will also be collected from select taxidermists in Vernon, Crawford, and Dodge counties. These taxidermists will sample older bucks which have the highest prevalence of CWD in the wild. DNR staff will also solicit voluntary samples from adult deer the weekend of Nov. 23-24 in these counties.

A map of the 2013 Sampling Plan [PDF] is available on the DNR website.

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