A deer harvested by a bow hunter in southeast Portage County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the state Department of Natural Resources reports. This is the second CWD-positive wild deer found in the county. Wildlife biologists in central Wisconsin now are asking bow hunters to assist with increased surveillance for the disease in four separate areas where positives have been confirmed outside the CWD management zone. CWD is contagious and fatal for deer, elk and moose. “Last fall CWD was discovered for the first time in three wild, white-tailed deer in Adams, Juneau and Portage counties” said DNR area wildlife supervisor Kris Johansen. “Now we have a second positive in a different area of Portage County. To better define the geographic extent of CWD in central Wisconsin, we are focusing additional surveillance around each of these four locations.” The latest CWD positive deer was harvested Oct. 6 just northwest of Almond in Portage County.
To view where the surveillance focus areas are located, hunters can go to the DNR website and enter “CWD registration” in the key word search, then click on “CWD registration and sampling.” On this page – detailed maps show the precise location of these surveillance circles for the first three positives, the ones in Adams and Juneau counties and the first find in Portage County, located in the northwest corner of the county. There is also a map showing the two Portage County locations. A new map, showing the precise surveillance area for the fourth positive, in southeast Portage County, will be added to the web page as soon as it is prepared. This page also links to a list of cooperating taxidermists and meat processors where samples can be collected. The DNR is asking hunters to work with these cooperators to have head and lymph node samples from adult deer – harvested within the four focus areas – removed for testing. To have the sample removed, the hunter can bring the whole deer to one of the listed cooperators or just remove the head with at least three inches of neck attached and bring that in for sampling. “Please call ahead to set up an appointment,” Johansen said. “These are private business operators who are helping us out, and we want to respect their time and their schedules.” This list will be updated online as new cooperators join the surveillance effort:
- Wisconsin River Meats, N5340 County HH, Mauston 608-847-7413
- A&B Butchering, 6971 Hwy 34, Rudolph 715-435-3893
- Strickly Wild Processing, 140 Buffalo St, Wisconsin Rapids 715-421-0587
- Hartnell’s Wild Game Processing, 1925 Cypress Ave., Arkdale 608-339-7288
- Trevor Athens Taxidermy, 982 15th Ave., Arkdale 608-547-6117
- Tall Tines Taxidermy, N2621 Cassidy Road, Mauston 608-547-0818
- Todd’s Wildlife Taxidermy, N2148 State 58, Mauston 608-847-7693
- Vollmer Taxidermy, 3631 Plover Road, Plover 715-345-1934
- Field and Stream Taxidermy, 217 S. Front St., Coloma 608-547-1565
- DNR Service Center, 473 Griffith Ave., Wisconsin Rapids 715-421-7813
- Mead Wildlife Area, S2148 County S, Milladore 715-457-6771
- Adams Ranger Station, 532 N. Adams St., Adams 608-339-4819
- Almond Market, 111 Main St., Almond 715-366-2002
Hunters may also have deer from any of the four focus areas tested for CWD by contacting one of these DNR offices:
- Mead Wildlife Area headquarters, S2148 County S, Milladore – 715-457-6771
- WI Rapids Service Center, 473 Griffith Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids – 715-421-7813
- Adams-Friendship Ranger Station, 532 N. Main Street, Adams – 608-339-4819
On the weekends or during warm periods, hunters should remove the deer head with at least three inches of neck attached, freeze the head and then contact the DNR to arrange a drop off.
DNR staff will also collect samples from hunter-harvested deer on the opening weekend of the gun deer season. Collection stations and hours will be published prior to the gun deer season. The CWD tests are free to hunters. Each person who submits a head for testing will receive lab results within three or four weeks.