Madison , Wis. – A wild white-tailed deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in the disease eradication zone (DEZ) of Rock County. This is the first CWD positive discovered in the 25-square mile zone that was established by the Department of Natural Resources this year due to proximity of CWD-positive wild deer across the border in Illinois.

“This finding is disappointing but not unexpected,” said Tom Hauge, Director of Wildlife Management for the DNR. “We established the DEZ this fall and are conducting intensive sampling in the Rock County area because of its proximity to CWD-positive deer in Illinois. The state line does not serve as a barrier to disease movement.”

“We are very grateful to the hunters and landowners from Rock County that are helping us get the deer tissue samples we need in order to look for this disease. We’ve had great cooperation,” Hauge said.

The positive deer was a 6- to 8-year-old doe shot by a hunter and submitted to the DNR for testing on November 1, 2003. It was harvested in the central part of the Rock County DEZ, within a quarter mile of the Wisconsin-Illinois border. Approximately 59 deer have been collected to date from the Rock County DEZ area, which includes portions of Turtle and Clinton townships.

The DNR established the Rock County DEZ earlier this year after Illinois reported that CWD-positive deer were discovered in a section of land located within 1.5 miles from the Wisconsin state line. The department has the authority to establish a DEZ that extends up to 4.5 miles outward from each CWD-positive deer. Within a DEZ, special hunting regulations can be authorized to reduce the infected deer population and reduce the spread of the disease.

“Illinois is taking similar actions to manage CWD by reducing the deer herd size in areas of CWD infection,” Hauge said. “We are working with Illinois to share information that will help both states manage this disease.”

Landowner and hunter cooperation will be critical to controlling this disease and helping protect Wisconsin’s deer herd, according to Doug Fendry, Area Wildlife Supervisor for Rock County. “We need private landowners to open up their land to hunting and we need hunters to remove deer and have them tested for CWD by the DNR. We are offering free landowner permits to private property owners located within the Rock County DEZ to help get the job done,” Fendry said.

Under the authority of a landowner permit, the permittee can hunt without a license (provided they meet age and safety training requirements), shoot deer from tractors or other farm implements, and receive two free buck tags. Additionally, the permit exempts any hunter who hunts on the permittee’s land from needing a deer license provided they meet age and safety requirements.

Landowners interested in a permit can call (608) 935-1945 or (608) 743-4834. More information on CWD is available on the DNR Web site, www.dnr.state.wi.us, under “Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin.”

Rock County hunters can have their deer sampled for CWD by the DNR at no cost during the opening weekend of the traditional nine-day gun hunt, Nov.22-23, at the following locations:

  • Beloit – Jans K Market, s11744 CTH K, 365-9717

  • Beloit/Afton – Friendly Village Tavern, S5621 CTH D, 362-9732

  • Clinton – Boxcar Pub, 108 Allen St., 676-1149 (Disease Eradication Zone Station)

  • Clinton – Chad’s Taxidermy, 11102 South Larson Road, 921-5666 (Disease Eradication Zone Station)

  • Evansville – Ringhand Meats, 603 E. Main St., 882-5025

  • Indianford – Treps Bait & Tackle, W3506 CTH M, 884-6042

  • Janesville – The Vinyard, 3439 Mt. Zion Ave., 752-3653

  • Janesville – BBB’s Tap, N333 CTH E, 755-5880

  • Milton – The Liquor Cabinet, 721 S. Janesville St., 868-7042

  • Ordfordville – Donna’s Gas & Grocery, 208 W. Brodhead St., 879-9074

Hunters in Rock County can have their deer sampled through the end of the hunting period, January 3, by calling Chad’s Taxidermy at (608) 921-5666. Many area meat processors and taxidermists are also collecting deer heads for CWD testing. Hunters are given the list of collection sites when they register their deer.