Milwaukee, Wis. – The public will have an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the boundaries of the eastern Chronic Wasting Disease – Disease Eradication Zones and other changes to hunting season structure, and learn about herd status at combined public hearing-informational open houses scheduled for March 14, 15 and 16 in Waukesha , Bristol and Elkhorn.

Wisconsin’s first cases of CWD were reported in February 2002 in three deer near the south-central city of Mount Horeb. Intensive statewide surveillance conducted through 2004 found the disease in wild deer in 10 southern and southeastern counties. These areas were included in a disease eradication zone (DEZ) or the herd reduction zone (HRZ), which are the focus of herd reduction efforts and intensive surveillance.

Since the disease was discovered, more than 440 deer in these areas have tested positive for the brain disease — which is always fatal in deer — out of nearly 75,000 deer that have been tested.

The proposed changes to the chronic wasting disease hunting rules include:

Expanding the Eastern Disease Eradication Zone around new positives found near the north and east border of last year’s zone.

Creating a 5-day split in the gun season of the DEZs so that there is no gun deer hunting the five days prior to the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Applying either sex hunting regulations to the archery and gun seasons beginning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving through January 3 in both the DEZ and the HRZ.

Allowing earning of buck hunting authority in any earn-a-buck unit in the state by shooting an antlerless deer in any earn-a-buck unit in the state.

Open Houses on herd status and CWD information precede hearings Prior to the scheduled 7 p.m. hearings, there will be open house/informational meetings. The open house/informational meetings on the deer herd status and the proposed CWD rule will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Department staff will be available to answer questions regarding the proposed rules and deer herd status in the surrounding deer management units.

The informational meetings and hearings are at the location and dates listed below:

March 14, Waukesha – Room 151, State Office Building, 141 NW Barstow St.

March 15, Bristol – Hearing Room, Kenosha Center, 19600 75th Street (Hwy. 45 & 50 intersection).

March 16, Elkhorn – Cafeteria/auditorium, Elkhorn Middle School, 627 W. Court St. (STH 11).