Madison, Wis. – The chronic wasting disease (CWD) test results from the August 10-16, 2002 landowner shooting period in western Dane and eastern Iowa Counties are in, and wildlife managers report that 9 of 358 deer harvested tested positive. These nine new positives bring the tally of known CWD cases in the CWD-infection area to 40 animals since the first positives in the wild deer herd were announced on February 28th.
The nine new cases are all within the established eradication zone. One of the new cases was shot approximately one mile northwest of the Village of Cross Plains and was sufficiently close to the eradication zone boundary that the zone will need to be modified slightly to maintain a 4-mile buffer around all known CWD-positive cases. The addition will add approximately 22 square miles to the existing 389-square mile zone.
“It’s not surprising to find more positives in the eradication zone since we already know we have the disease there,” said Tom Hauge, director of DNR’s Bureau of Wildlife Management. “These test results are consistent with what we’ve found so far. Finding the new positives is very helpful. These positive tissues are needed in the development of more rapid laboratory testing procedures. In addition, the new test results can be added to our existing database and help epidemiologists learn more about the dynamics of the disease in Wisconsin.
“We plan to test in the neighborhood of 40,000 to 50,000 deer statewide this fall taking 500 deer from most counties. This will be the most extensive wild deer testing program undertaken in the country and will allow us to say with confidence if the disease is or isn’t present in a county.”
In another development, a CWD-positive deer has been found on a game farm operated by James Hirschboeck in Walworth County. The farm has been under quarantine since Sept. 20. This brings the total of known CWD-positive farmed deer to two. The positive deer was one of four tested from the farm and was a healthy-appearing older female.
Throughout the summer, landowners in what has been designated as the CWD eradication zone, participated in a series of week-long deer collection shooting periods, one each in June, July, August, and September. The laboratory has not yet reported September’s results.
Over 1,100 landowners requested permits to participate in this effort. In addition, Department of Natural Resources shooting teams have assisted 300 non-hunting landowners who have indicated they desire department shooting teams on their property.
“We are very pleased with the summer collections,” said Hauge “We never expected to see large numbers of deer come in during the summer shoots. However, we had a great need to add to the number of animals tested from this area and to refine our registration and collection procedures for the fall hunt when we can expect those large numbers to come in.”