RICHLAND CENTER – A chronic wasting disease (CWD) positive wild white-tailed deer was detected recently in the Richland County Town of Orion outside of the Disease Eradication Zone (DEZ), the state Department of Natural Resources announced today.
The one-and-one-half year old doe was shot by a hunter Oct. 29, 2005 on his property located several miles north of the Lower Wisconsin River in the CWD Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ), an area covering all or part of 19 counties which serves as a buffer between the smaller DEZ and the rest of the state.
This is the fifth CWD positive deer found so far this hunting season outside of the DEZ and like the others it “will not result in a change to the DEZ boundary or the hunting season framework this fall,” noted Alan Crossley, CWD project leader based at Fitchburg.
The other HRZ positive deer were detected in Jefferson and Sauk Counties, one each, and two from Dane County.
“Only after we have concluded our surveillance this fall and winter, during which we aim to sample thousands of deer and had an opportunity to look at test results,” continued Mr. Crossley, “will we be able to begin thinking about our management response in the future.”
Ironically, most of Richland County had been removed from the DEZ for this year’s hunting seasons after being included during 2003 and 2004 due to the finding of a CWD positive deer in Orion Township in 2002.
“We had sampled over 3000 deer over the past two years without detecting any positive deer in Richland County and that fact, along with public input, prompted us to take most of Richland County out of the DEZ,” pointed out Mr. Crossley.
“We expected to find more positive deer, but since we had not, we opted to try a different strategy around isolated positives such as this one. Interestingly, this positive deer was shot in the same section of land as the two-year old doe that tested positive in 2002, probably within one-half mile of that deer,” he added.
A conservation warden met with the hunter who confirmed the location where the deer was shot. The hunter will receive a $400 check for shooting a CWD positive deer – $200 for being the shooter and $200 as the landowner – from DNR’s ‘Payment for Positives’ program, administered by Whitetails Unlimited.
Since 2002, over 80,800 wild white-tailed deer have been tested statewide for CWD with 493 testing positive and all but nine detected in the DEZ, the remainder in the HRZ.
The western DEZ covers 1280 square miles and encompasses much of Iowa County, western Dane County, southern Sauk County and small sections of Columbia, Green, Lafayette and Richland Counties.
The eastern DEZ covers 462 square miles and includes roughly the southeast quarter of Rock County, almost half of Walworth County and a small section of Racine County.
Persons interested in the latest information on CWD in Wisconsin can visit the DNR Web site at: dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/whealth/issues/CWD/index.htm