FITCHBURG – A Richland Center man who owns property in one of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) “sparks” areas is slated to receive the third of four Sparks Incentive Program cash payments.

Ward McDonald will get a $2000 check for a deer that was shot on his Town of Orion property in Richland County by a DNR wildlife biologist.

The payment program was launched this deer hunting season by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Whitetails Unlimited to recognize landowner and hunter efforts to eliminate CWD within two small clusters of the disease lying on the periphery of the core area of highest CWD prevalence in the western disease eradication zone.

Each landowner will receive $2000 of the total $2500 incentive payment, while the hunters will each receive $500. If the landowner is also the shooter, then that person receives $2,500. Mr. Lichtie, as a DNR employee, is not eligible for the $500 hunter payment.

“It is our goal to extinguish these small clusters of CWD that we are terming ‘sparks’ before they have a chance to grow into a larger area of infection. We are so thankful for landowners and hunters who choose to open up their land, take deer or, as in this case, allow government shooters to harvest deer, and bring them in for testing in order to help us,” said Alan Crossley, CWD Project Leader for the DNR.

“We hope that rewarding the $2500 to a landowner and hunter not only provides incentive to open up private land and harvest multiple deer, but also shows our appreciation of these efforts,” he added.

The new Spark Incentive Program provides four $2500 payments in each spark, spread among four time periods. The first time period ended Oct. 27, the second Nov. 28 and the third on Jan. 3. The final is set for March 31. A random drawing is held in each spark after the close of each time period. Each deer shot in a spark represents one chance for this drawing. Whitetails Unlimited is cooperating with administering the program and issues the payments.

Deer shot in the Orion Township spark can be registered and sampled in Muscoda at STH 80 Boat Landing on the Wisconsin River. The registration station is open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., through March 31.

“Landowners and hunters remain the key to whether we succeed or fail in our effort to reduce the deer population, test every adult deer and eradicate CWD. Likewise, the success or failure of the sparks experiment rests in the hands of landowners and hunters,” said Mr. Crossley.

For more information on CWD please visit dnr.wi.gov and click on “Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin” or call 1-877-WISC CWD.