MADISON — A white-tailed deer on a Jefferson County hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt announced today.
The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported the test results Thursday, Dec. 18. The animal was a 7-year-old buck owned by Steve Hookstead, Helenville, and was one of a very small herd in the Town of Farmington preserve. Only two deer now remain in the preserve.
The deer was killed on Dec. 1 as part of a culling effort. The Animal Health Division of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s investigation will look at the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to find out whether other herds may have been exposed to CWD.
Deer herds on hunting preserves are generally not on the state’s CWD monitoring program. However, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection rules require that all farm-raised deer and elk 16 months or older must be tested when they die, go to slaughter or are killed.
Ehlenfeldt quarantined the remaining two deer immediately. The quarantine stops movement of live deer off or onto the property without written permission from the department. Hookstead also has a breeding herd elsewhere on his property; that herd is “medically separated” from the hunting preserve, meaning that the deer in that herd have had no contact with the animals on the hunting preserve or the land itself, so they are not quarantined.
To date, 99 farm-raised animals in Wisconsin have tested positive for CWD on nine farms and hunting preserves, including 82 on a single Portage County operation. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. To date, more than 22,500 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested.