Exciting public-private partnership to handle testing unveiled MADISON – Gov. Scott McCallum announced today a plan that provides federal laboratory capacity for Wisconsin deer hunters who want their deer individually tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Gov. McCallum also outlined an exciting public-private partnership to handle hunter demand, using veterinarians from across the state to help with samples.

“My goal always has been to provide an affordable test for every hunter who wants one, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to provide new laboratory capacity for up to 200,000 tests for Wisconsin deer hunters,” Gov. McCallum said. “This newly created testing capacity will help satisfy hunter demands for tests in Wisconsin.”

The voluntary tests offered to hunters will be in addition to surveillance tests the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) already has planned. Hunters will have the following options to procure samples from a harvested deer:

Obtain a free test at no charge as part of the state surveillance efforts. The DNR will test 50,000 deer statewide at no cost to the hunter. This total includes every deer harvested in the eradication zone and 500 deer per county across the state. “We will know with 99 percent confidence where CWD is in the state after this aggressive surveillance program is complete,” Gov. McCallum said.

Enlist the services of a participating veterinarian. Hunters who wish to have a deer tested can take their deer to a participating veterinarian and pay a sampling and testing fee set by the veterinarian. The veterinarian would submit a brain stem sample and test fee to a designated laboratory. Laboratory results would be shared with the state, the veterinarian and the hunter.

The hunter can take the sample. Hunters also will have the choice to procure the samples themselves and will be provided directions from the state on the proper procedure for taking a sample. The CWD Interagency Task Force will distribute detailed sample procurement information to interested hunters soon so they can be partners in our battle against CWD.

The test will determine if a detectable level of CWD prions exists in the tissue tested at the time it is tested. CWD experts caution hunters that a prion test is not a food safety test.

Gov. McCallum applauded USDA for stepping up its efforts to help Wisconsin and urged hunters to hunt this fall. “This is very good news for Wisconsin hunters,” Gov. McCallum said. “Hunters want the opportunity to test and these options will help them decide to hunt when the season opens.”

Gov. McCallum is encouraging hunters to get out and hunt this fall – both to continue the hunting tradition and to help Wisconsin learn more about CWD. “We’ve done much and will strive to do more about CWD, but we can’t succeed without the cooperation of hunters, landowners, veterinarians and residents across Wisconsin,” he said.