ROCKFORD — Two deer killed by sharpshooters in the Winnebago County forest preserves have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, state wildlife officials announced Wednesday night.
They were among the first 20 tested for the fatal deer disease. One-hundred deer have been killed during four nights of shooting in the four preserves along the Kishwaukee River corridor.
All will be tested for CWD, which was first confirmed in the county near Roscoe in fall 2002.
“It’s no surprise there were positives found in the forest preserves, given the proximity of the previous positives found in Winnebago County,” DNR spokeswoman Carol Knowles said.
Illinois has 41 confirmed cases, the majority of which have been in Winnebago and Boone counties.
The positives from the forest preserve were a 51/2-year-old buck and a male fawn.
For the first time, sharpshooters are being used to reduce the overpopulated deer herd in the preserves. The first segment of the program began last week and ended Monday. It will resume tonight, if weather permits.
The targeted forest preserves are Blackhawk Springs, Oak Ridge, Espenscheid Memorial and Deer Run.