CWD regulations in Wisconsin

Due to the regular amending of regulations in Wisconsin, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Wisconsin can be seen below:

Click a section to expand:


Testing Laboratories in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
6101 Mineral Point Rd. Madison WI 53705-4494
608-262-5432 or 800-608-8387

Locations Where CWD Was Found

Counties (Accurate as of 2/2016)

1. Adams 2. Columbia 3. Dane 4. Grant 5. Green 6. Iowa 7. Jefferson 8. Juneau 9. Kenosha 10. Lafayette 11. Portage 12. Racine 13. Richland 14. Rock 15. Sauk 16. Walworth 17. Washburn 18. Waukesha

Most Recent CWD News

  • All
  • 2
  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all

News by Year

2016 (3)2014 (1)2013 (4)2012 (3)2011 (2)2010 (7)2009 (5)2008 (6)2007 (10)2006 (14)2005 (23)2004 (49)2003 (86)2002 (63)

Category Archives: Wisconsin

Oconto County Deer Tests Positive for CWD

A white-tailed deer on an Oconto County hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported the final test results last week.

State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw says the animal was an 18 month old female and was one of more than an estimated 1,450 deer in the 1,360-acre preserve. The deer was born on the premises and killed on the preserve.

More than 1,000 deer from this preserve have been tested for CWD since 2010.

The DATCP animal health division’s investigation will look at animal movement records, but since the deer was born on the preserve, there will not be any trace back investigations of any other herds.

With help from Wisconsin’s hunters, sampling results provide current snapshot of CWD in Wisconsin

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sampled more than 3,100 deer for chronic wasting disease statewide in 2015. In all, 290 positive detections were made, primarily within the endemic area in southern Wisconsin.

For 2015 sampling and prevalence data and more information regarding chronic wasting disease search the DNR website,, for keyword “CWD.”

“Once again, hunter cooperation has been outstanding. This year was our first sampling year under the new electronic deer registration system, and we used this opportunity to try new collection methods,” said Tim Marien, DNR wildlife health biologist. “Although the total number of deer tested decreased from 2014, that was not unexpected this first year. We learned from the experience and will continue to work closely with hunters to make sample submission convenient and gather more samples.”

The department has monitored trends in chronic wasting disease distribution and prevalence within Wisconsin since its discovery in 2002.

According to Marien, prevalence continues to increase within the department’s long-term monitoring area in southwest Wisconsin, and remains higher in males than females and higher in adults than yearlings.

Monitoring efforts also included ongoing surveillance within a 10-mile radius of each new CWD positive wild deer found in 2012 in Juneau, Adams, and Portage counties in central Wisconsin. Since then, eight additional positives were found in Adams and Portage counties

Surveillance was also conducted surrounding CWD-positive captive deer facilities in Marathon and Eau Claire counties, with no wild CWD deer detected.

Efforts in 2015-16 marked the fourth year of CWD surveillance in Washburn County, following the 2012 discovery of a CWD-positive adult doe near Shell Lake in northwest Wisconsin. Following recommendations from a local community action team, local landowners and hunters helped the department sample more than 2,000 deer in the area over the last four years. No new positives have been detected. Based on four years of sampling, all information has indicated the disease is not widespread in the Washburn area, and may occur at a very low prevalence rate.

“On behalf of our whole department, I want to thank hunters for their continued role in providing samples and helping us monitor this disease within Wisconsin,” said Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief.

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Iowa County farm

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Iowa County farm

MADISON – A white-tailed deer from a deer farm in Iowa County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test results.

The 2-year-old buck, which was born on the farm and killed after sustaining an injury, was one of only 15 deer reported to be on the 1 acre farm, according to the farm’s June 2015 registration. The owner keeps a small number of deer for public exhibition only and does not move the deer anywhere except to slaughter. All of the owner’s deer that have died or been sent to slaughter since 2002 have been tested for CWD.

Samples were taken from the buck on January 9 in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die or are killed.

The farm has been quarantined since 2008 when wild deer within a five mile radius were diagnosed with CWD. The DATCP Animal Health Division’s investigation will also examine the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto the property to determine whether any other deer farms may have exposure to CWD.

Mysterious Marathon County case underscores lack of knowledge of CWD

ELAND — It’s been almost five months since a prize buck on a game farm in eastern Marathon County tested positive for chronic wasting disease, and investigators are as befuddled about the case today as they were in November.

The game farm, Wilderness Whitetails, and its affiliated breeding farm in Portage County have followed all of the protocols set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection intended to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Wilderness Whitetails is a 351-acre, family-run hunting ranch that started business 37 years ago, owner Greg Flees said in December. The disease was found in a routine test after a hunter killed the animal.

The herd had been “closed” for more than a decade, Flees said, meaning that no deer had been brought into the operations from the outside. The breeding farm is double-fenced, which keeps wild deer from getting close to the captive animals to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, but the hunting preserve is not, in accordance with state regulations.

No deer had tested positive on the preserve before; it was the first new CWD-infected deer tested on any Wisconsin farm since October 2008, and the farthest north a captive deer had been found to have the disease. The infected buck was one of the preserve’s 270 deer, game for people who pay for the right to hunt them.

Flees cooperated fully with the investigation of how the buck got sick, said Paul McGraw, state veterinarian. But even with Flees’ help and subsequent investigative efforts, McGraw said he doesn’t think there ever will be an answer as to how that buck got sick — which leaves hunters in eastern Marathon County nervous.

“This guy has got a real good record,” McGraw said. “This particular farm has done a lot (to prevent CWD exposure). There’s a low risk that CWD is in the breeding herd.”

The case underscores just how little is known about CWD, and the knowledge gap makes it difficult to manage the disease.

“There’s not been a lot of research done on it,” McGraw said. “And there are not a lot of good answers.”

CWD upswing

The Wilderness Whitetails case comes at a time when the disease continues to run rampant among wild deer in Iowa County and western Dane County, where the state Department of Natural Resources says that one in four adult male deer has the fatal disease. The prevalence rate of 25 percent is based on 2013 test results from that deer management zone. The rate has more than doubled since 2002, when 8 percent to 10 percent of bucks had the disease.

The CWD stakes are high in a state that places a premium on hunting socially, culturally and economically. In 2010, deer hunting licenses and permits generated $22.7 million for the DNR, according to PolitiFact Wisconsin. Estimates of the overall economic impact to the state as a whole exceed $1 billion.

CWD affects elk and moose as well as deer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was first recognized in 1967 and belongs to a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Other TSEs include bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, scrapie in sheep and goats and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans. CWD, though, is distinct from those other diseases, the USDA said.

The growth of CWD in southern Wisconsin, coupled with the Wilderness Whitetails case, is troubling, said Marcell Wieloch, 71, of Mosinee, a longtime deer hunter with gun and bow.

“The elephant in the room, the fear that some people have, is if they shoot that deer, and eat that deer, sooner or later it’s going to transfer to Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease,” Wieloch said. “You start bringing those threads together.”

No one understands specific causes of CWD. Most scientists believe, however, that TSE diseases are caused by proteins called prions. And scientists agree that CWD often is transmitted directly from one animal to another through saliva, feces and urine containing abnormal prions, according to the USDA.

Records show the buck killed at Wilderness Whitetails never came in contact with another infected deer, so it’s a mystery as to how it contracted CWD. Three possibilities include that the buck got the disease spontaneously; that it came from exposure in the herd of the hunting preserve or breeding farm; or that it picked up the disease in the environment, McGraw said.

“We don’t know if there are prions in the soil, whether it can survive a while in the environment,” McGraw said. “We don’t see any scientific way of naming any one of these possibilities as the reason (the Wilderness Whitetails buck had the disease.)”

Unknown future

The state DNR, which oversees CWD policy among wild deer, uses one main tool to quash the disease. It prohibits deer baiting and feeding in areas where CWD has been found in deer. Marathon County already was under the restriction because farm deer in Portage County had been tested as CWD positive. The Wilderness Whitetail case extended the region to Shawano and Waupaca counties, said Tami Ryan, chief of the DNR’s wildlife health program.

The DNR also will step up its surveillance for CWD in the area to get a better idea how prevalent the disease is.

“There is no CWD in the wild deer in Marathon County, as far as we know,” Ryan said.

Did finding CWD in a captive herd increase the potential for the disease to spread to wild deer? It’s a concern, Ryan said, but there is no way to know.

Wieloch would like to see the DNR take a more aggressive stance against CWD. Other states, such as Colorado, he said, have helped limit its spread by using sharpshooters to kill deer in CWD zones.

Ryan said one reason the DNR hasn’t taken more drastic steps is because of the public and hunters as a whole, have opposed those measures.

“We respond by social influence and outlook, attitude and opinion,” Ryan said. “The tide is shifting a little bit. Based on our past experience, we’re seeing more public sentiment that wishes we were doing more, taking a stronger stance.”

CWD-positive White-tailed Deer Found on Marathon County Hunting Preserve

MADISON – For the first time in five years, a white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. This latest case was found in Marathon County.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, reported the final test results back to the state. The animal was a 5-year-old male and was one of about 370 deer in the 351-acre preserve.

The deer was killed on November 4. Samples were taken on November 7 in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die, go to slaughter or are killed. The sample originally tested positive at a regional laboratory and required a confirmatory test at the NVSL. The DATCP Animal Health Division’s investigation will look at the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

McGraw quarantined the preserve and the other three registered farms owned by the same entity immediately, which stops movement of live deer from the property, except to slaughter or to their hunting preserves. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined preserves, because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.

This is the first new CWD test-positive deer on a Wisconsin farm since October 2008.

Since CWD was discovered in Wisconsin in February 2002, there were eighty-two cases from a single Portage county farm that was depopulated in 2006. The remaining 15 cases were discovered over a six-year period from 2002 to 2008 on eight farms and hunting preserves. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. Since 1998, more than 35,700 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested for CWD.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!