MADISON – Starting Friday, Nov. 15, citizens and hunters will be able to check on the progress Wisconsin wildlife and health officials are making testing the thousands of samples hunters have donated from deer shot across the state to be tested for chronic wasting disease.
The will publish the testing report on its Chronic Wasting Disease pages of its Web site. The report will show the number of samples, the number of samples analyzed to date and the results. Test results will be reported by county and by deer management unit (DMU). There will also be a statewide summary report that will include all CWD tests beginning with 1999 when Wisconsin first began CWD surveillance.
Individual hunters who provide samples from their deer will be able to look up test results using the sample collection bar code number they were given at the collection station, their DNR customer number, or their landowner permit number. Anyone without Internet access may be able to use computers provided by local libraries, friends or neighbors. Anyone who has difficulty finding the results can also call a DNR service center and DNR staff will assist them in looking up results.
The CWD testing page will be updated every Friday to include any new results reported by the laboratory since the previous update, but officials caution that hunters who immediately rush to their computers to look up results may not find data for their deer. There will be a lag time between when their deer’s head arrives at a processing center and when the data will be entered in the reporting system, said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management.
“We urge hunters to be patient as eventually all hunters will find their deer in the system,” Hauge said. “Rest assured that we will be working as hard as time and staffing allow us at the job of testing all these deer. The process of collecting, recording, transporting, sampling and testing 50,000 deer is enormous and hunters can expect some delays from the time they visit the collection site until their deer appears in the system.”
Additionally, all hunters who submit a sample will get a postcard mailed to them with the results, and if it turns out they have a deer that tests positive for CWD they will get a phone call, Hauge said.
“It’s really important to this CWD surveillance effort that we get close to our desired sample size of 500 deer per county,” said DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Julie Langenberg. “Along with the total number it’s also important that the samples we get are spread out over the county for the same reasons.”
The ultimate goal of the surveillance program is to tell wildlife managers and hunters exactly where CWD is and isn’t in Wisconsin.
“Many times over the past 100 years and more, hunters have risen to conservation challenges and I’m confident they can do it again,” said DNR Secretary Darrell Bazzell.
“This is another one of those challenges and it’s critical that everyone pitch in. This is not the time to assume your neighbor or the landowner on the next woodlot will bring in their deer for sampling. By bringing in deer until we say we’ve got enough, hunters can take pride in saying that they’re part of the most remarkable deer research effort ever undertaken.”
The majority of Wisconsin’s CWD tests will be performed at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory located in Madison. The lab is one of three labs in the United States newly certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to test for CWD, and all of the Madison lab’s CWD testing capacity will be dedicated to testing Wisconsin deer this year.
The lab will be running the “gold-standard” immunohistochemical (IHC) test on deer lymph tissue or on brain stem tissue if for some reason the lymph tissue is inadequate.
“We will be running the IHC tests three at a time, which will approach the same test output level as some of the newer assays being used in other laboratories,” said Bob Shull, director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Madison.