BELOIT – Arrangements are now in place so hunters can register deer and get them sampled for chronic wasting disease (CWD) from animals shot in the 25 square mile Disease Eradication Zone (DEZ) along the State Line in Rock County.

“We want all adult deer heads from the Rock County DEZ,” said DNR wildlife biologist Doug Fendry, Janesville, who will oversee the agency’s daily registration and collection activities in the DEZ.

To this end and starting Sept. 13 with the opening of the bow deer season, hunters can contact Chad Nelson, of Chad’s Taxidermy, Clinton, who has contracted with DNR to collect deer heads for CWD testing.

Hunters can schedule a time to meet Mr. Nelson at his business, 11102 South Larson Road, just south of Clinton, or the taxidermist will schedule a time to meet hunters at their home or a convenient location to take deer heads for testing. Hunters should call Mr. Nelson at 608/921-5666 to make such arrangements.

Hunters are encouraged to register their deer on the day it is harvested to assure the quality of tissue samples taken for testing.

No fawns will be tested unless DEZ hunters plan to keep their deer because “testing last fall showed that fawns have a very low incidence of CWD,” noted Mr. Fendry.

Sampling will take place in the Rock County DEZ during the entire deer hunting seasons which run from Sept. 13 through Jan. 3. This year, the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison will be using a quicker test for identifying CWD and most hunters can expect results within several weeks of sampling.

“We are encouraging hunters to utilize the deer they shoot. However, if a hunter shoots a deer in the DEZ and doesn’t want to keep it, then Chad Nelson will collect the carcass for disposal,” pointed out the DNR biologist.

Hunters can also register their DEZ deer at the Boxcar Pub, 108 Allen St., Clinton. Hunters who register their deer at the Boxcar Pub will be given a handout with information about contacting Chad’s Taxidermy to get deer tested.

Earn-a-buck will be in place in both the DEZ and deer management unit (DMU) 77A, which covers most of Rock County, so hunters must first shoot an antlerless deer before they can harvest a buck during the archery and gun seasons. Earn-a-buck permits are interchangeable in that they can be used in either the gun or bow season.

The DEZ in southern Rock County covers 17 sections in the Town of Turtle, including much of the City of Beloit’s east side, and eight sections in the Town of Clinton.

DNR created the DEZ in southern Rock County after Illinois found 14 CWD positive deer in three of that state’s northern counties, one of which was shot about two miles south of the State Line east of U.S. Highway 90/51 in Boone County.

Wisconsin has been working with Illinois since last year on a coordinated regional approach to CWD management. Illinois is increasing the harvest of deer in that state’s CWD affected area, and will continue intensive deer testing to detect spread of the disease.

CWD is an always fatal nervous system disease of deer and elk. It belongs to the disease family known as transmissable spongiform encephalopathies (TSE’s) or prion diseases. Though it shares certain features with other TSE’s like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or scrapie in sheep, it is a distinct disease apparently only affecting members of the cervid or deer family.

Landowners in the DEZ are eligible to receive free permits which allows them or their agents, friends, neighbors, family, etc. to hunt deer on their property without a license. Permit holders and their agents will need to meet the legal, age and hunter safety requirements for obtaining a hunting license in Wisconsin.

This fall, noted Mr. Fendry, “we will give two free buck tags with each free landowner permit in the DEZ. These permits will allow the shooting of two bucks under the authority of the landowner permit without first having to shoot antlerless deer.”

Most landowners in the DEZ should have received a letter from DNR advising them on how to apply for the free landowner permits. DEZ landowners who have not got a letter or are interested in more details can call DNR’s Janesville Service Center at 608/743-4834.

The archery season in the DEZ runs and throughout DMU 77A runs from Sept. 13 through Jan. 3, while the gun season runs from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, and Nov. 22 through Jan. 3. Hunters using landowner permits have a longer season that runs from Oct. 30 through Jan. 3. Archers must wear blaze orange during the gun deer seasons.