MADISON — Hunters participating in the early Zone T hunt in some south central and southeastern Wisconsin counties will have an opportunity to submit samples from their deer to be tested for chronic wasting disease as part of the state’s CWD surveillance effort.
Last fall the Department of Natural Resources conducted surveillance in all counties of the state. Sampling will only be done this year in the CWD management zones and in select counties where additional sampling is needed to meet the overall surveillance goals set last year or because they are considered areas of higher risk because of proximity of CWD infected or quarantined deer or elk farms.
Carl Batha, the DNR wildlife manager overseeing CWD operations in southwestern Wisconsin, notes that testing is mainly a disease surveillance tool, so it is important that hunters can provide information on where the deer was shot, and preferably the address or fire number of the property.
Adult deer should be brought in for testing within 18 hours of harvest. Hunters who harvest bucks will be able to take their antlers with skull plates attached. Deer heads may also be collected after being caped out by taxidermists provided they have been kept cool and are brought in within three days.
Outside of the CWD management zones, hunters in Manitowoc, Marquette, and Waukesha counties will have opportunities to have deer tested during the Zone T hunt at the following locations:
- Shadows Bar, 12215 Marken Rd. in School Hill
- CR Stop Convenience Store, 7416 CTH CR south of Manitowoc off I-43
- Pheasant Inn, W8650 State Hwy. 23,, in Briggsville
- Kettle Citgo, 214 Grove St., in Eagle
CWD management Zones
Wildlife officials are continuing to ask those people hunting in any deer management unit within the CWD Herd Reduction Zone in the bow or extended gun season to take their carcasses or deer heads to collection stations for testing as part of disease surveillance efforts.
The deer should first be registered at registration stations in the unit of kill or adjacent unit and then to one of four sites in the CWD Intensive Harvest Zone where the heads will be removed for sampling and testing, according to Tom Howard, DNR wildlife biologist based at Dodgeville.
The sampling site locations are:
- Arena – Heck’s Farm Market, 7266 State Highway 14, (608-225-4905)
- Barneveld – Eagle Mart Stop-N-Go, 8028 State Highway 151, (608-220-8742)
- Black Earth – Norslein’s Wood Works, 4738 State Highway 78, (608-220-7057
- Lone Rock – Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Lone Rock Unit, one mile west of Lone Rock on State Highway 14, (608-220-3474)
In addition to help from hunters, people are asked to contact their local wildlife biologist or conservation warden about any sick-looking deer they may see so that the deer can be collected and tested for CWD. This includes any adult deer that appears sick or exhibits abnormal behavior such as, little fear of people, inability to walk, disorientation, or other signs of nervous system disease.
Testing for CWD outside of surveillance effort
People hunting outside of the counties designated for additional CWD surveillance can have their deer tested for CWD at their own expense through participating private veterinary practitioners around the state. A complete list of participating veterinarians can be found on the CWD pages of the DNR Web site.
Once a hunter has registered a deer, they can take it to a participating veterinarian in their area who has been trained and approved to extract samples for CWD testing. Samples will be extracted at each participating clinic and sent to a USDA certified laboratory for testing. Results will be returned to the veterinarian who submitted the sample and shared with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Each participating veterinarian will decide when they will begin accepting requests for sampling and testing and determine the fee that they will charge for sampling services and testing costs.
The testing program is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin DNR, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
More information on CWD can be found on the DNR Web site.