181 deer from 2005-06 hunting season tested positive for CWD

FITCHBURG, Wis. – Either sex harvest for bow and gun hunting, shorter seasons, and a longer break between the seasons highlight changes to deer hunting rules for southern Wisconsin’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) zones this fall.

The rules were approved earlier this year by the state Natural Resources Board and reviewed by the state legislature.

Rules were formulated in response to what DNR has been hearing from many hunters over the past four years.

“Hunters have said that shorter seasons and a more concentrated effort will get deer moving and result in the greater harvest that’s necessary to manage the disease,” said Alan Crossley, Department of Natural Resources CWD project leader at Fitchburg.

There is, however, some disagreement among hunters on how best to achieve herd reduction in the zone, Crossley said, noting that some people who attended forums held last March believed that Earn-a-Buck, which requires the registration of an antlerless deer to earn a buck tag, should remain in place to reduce deer numbers.

“There are no easy answers in meeting herd reduction and hunter satisfaction needs, but we will keep working with hunters and landowners to find common ground,” Crossley said. “The important thing this fall is for hunters to step to the plate and shoot enough deer of both sexes as we continue toward our long-term goal of maintaining a healthy deer herd in Wisconsin.”

Hunters can harvest as many deer as they choose under the either-sex regulation in both of southern Wisconsin’s Eastern and Western Disease Eradication Zones (DEZ) and the much larger Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) during bow and gun seasons. Either sex tags will be available in early September at all registration stations in the CWD Zones, some licensed vendors and DNR offices.

DEZ and HRZ boundaries were not changed and remain the same as last year. A map of the CWD zone boundaries can be viewed on the DNR Web site. The bow and gun seasons for the Eastern and Western DEZs and the HRZ this fall are:

  • Gun Season in the Disease Eradication Zones: Oct. 14-22 and Nov. 18 – Dec. 10;
  • Gun Season in the Herd Reduction Zone: Oct. 19-22 and Nov. 18 – Dec. 10;
  • Archery Season in the Disease Eradication & Herd Reduction Zones: Sept. 16 – Jan. 7.

2005-06 Hunting Seasons in DEZs

More than 12,000 deer were harvested during the 2005-2006 hunting seasons in the CWD Disease Eradication Zones.

“Hunters and landowners remain the key to herd reduction and disease management in the DEZs,” Crossley pointed out. “We recognize that we can’t get to our goal of a healthy deer herd without the cooperation of landowners and hunters. Without your help, we would be faced with an impossible challenge.”

The hunting season breakdown in the DEZs for all 2005-06 hunting seasons was:

 

Antlered

Antlerless

Unknown

Total

Bow

307

  646

9

962

Gun

4405

6622

125

11,152

Total

4712

7168

134

12,114

Disease Surveillance

DNR staff tested 24,782 deer for CWD during the 2005-06 seasons and found 181 positives, with 15 identified in the outlying Herd Reduction Zone and the remainder from the Eastern or Western DEZ. Since 2002, DNR has sampled 100,147 deer and has found 652 positives, 20 from the HRZ and the rest from the two DEZs.

The breakdown by county for positive deer in 2005-06 is 115 from Iowa County, 40 from Dane County, eight from Walworth County, six from Rock County, four from Lafayette county and two each from Columbia, Jefferson, Richland and Sauk counties.

DNR staff will continue to focus disease surveillance efforts on areas in and around the two DEZs, clusters of CWD positive deer in the outlying HRZ, CWD positive deer farms, and, this year, in the agency’s 18-county West Central Region.

Last year, hunters brought in 4,563 deer for sampling in the agency’s 16-county Northeast Region. All deer tested negative for CWD.

“It’s very encouraging that no CWD positive deer were found in northeast Wisconsin last year. DNR’s continuing short term goal is to contain the disease in the known infected area. We are refining our management strategies and over the next three years will be completing another round of disease surveillance throughout the state. This fall we will be asking hunters in the West Central Region to bring in deer they shoot for testing. This work is critical to our long term goal of eradicating this disease and having a healthy deer herd in Wisconsin,” Crossley said.