Last Chronic Wasting Disease testing was statewide in 2002

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources will be conducting surveillance of adult deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the 16 county Northeast Region this fall. Last sampled in 2002, the DNR is beginning a process of out-state surveillance on a 3-year cycle, beginning in the Northeast Region this year.

“Continued vigilance and surveillance is critical to the management of this disease in Wisconsin,” said Tom Bahti, Regional Wildlife Supervisor in the NER. “All folks with an interest in white-tailed deer in Wisconsin must be aware that this disease is of statewide concern and that control of this disease will be a long-term effort. While extensive sampling in 2002 did not find the disease in the northeast region, we must continue to monitor the deer herd on a recurring basis. The disease will spread if aggressive management and surveillance efforts are not continued.”

Several collection periods and testing opportunities are available to firearm and archery deer hunting this fall.

Selected registration stations will be staffed during the October Zone T hunt (Oct. 27-30) and the opening weekend of the gun deer season (Nov. 19-20). In addition, the DNR has worked with local cooperators to provide additional opportunities for bow hunters to have their deer tested during the early archery deer season (Sept. 17-Nov. 17).

“We’ll have Department staff and other volunteers working at certain registration stations from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. Oct. 27-30; and from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Nov. 19-20. Hunters who wish to donate the head of their adult deer for testing can have that done during the registration process at these stations,” said Bahti.

Bahti added, “We’ve set up a number of cooperating registration stations, meat processors and selected taxidermists who have agreed to accept deer heads for testing from archers. This was not available in 2002, and will be important this year so that we can obtain better geographic distribution of samples and to get adequate samples of antlerless deer in some northern deer management units where there is not Zone T season and antlerless quotas may be lower.”

Bahti encourages hunters to donate the head from their adult deer (not head-shot) at one of the cooperating locations during the early bow season, or bring their deer in to selected registration stations during the October Zone T hunt or opening weekend of gun deer season. It will only take a few minutes to collect the necessary data, remove the head for testing, and get the deer registered. The information collected will be integral to the further understanding and management of this disease.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Whitetails Unlimited, and Gander Mountain are generously sponsoring a gun drawing for those hunters who donate their deer for testing. High quality rifles (Weatherby Vanguard .270, Bushnell Legend 3-9X scope, Leupold rings and bases) will be drawn from each CWD sampling block in the NER after the gun deer season. Hunters who donate a deer will be able to submit a postcard to enter their name in the drawing.

Bahti concluded by saying: “It’s only with the continued support and cooperation of Wisconsin hunters that we’ll be able to successfully monitor this disease and work to control it. Our hunters have always stepped up to the plate to protect and manage the wildlife resources in Wisconsin, and I fully expect that we’ll once again see that spirit exhibited this fall.”