Madison, Wis. – A second wild white-tailed deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Village of Fontana-On-Geneva Lake in southern Walworth County. This latest positive was collected about one mile north of the first CWD-positive wild deer reported from the area in August 2003.
“We are disappointed but we are not surprised to see another positive emerge from this area of the state,” said Tom Hauge, Director of Wildlife Management for the Department of Natural Resources. “We have continued collecting deer for CWD surveillance in Walworth and surrounding counties this year because we felt the area was at risk due to the CWD-positive deer discovered in Fontana in 2003 and the proximity of CWD-positive deer across the border in Illinois.
“We are grateful for the cooperation we’ve received from hunters and landowners of Walworth County in taking deer and bringing them to us for CWD testing. Without their help, we would not be able to learn more about the severity and geographic extent of CWD in this area. With their continued support we will gather critical information that will help us determine the best disease management strategy for the area.
“ The DNR passes on a special ‘thank you’ for the leadership role that the Village of Fontana has played in CWD surveillance. They appointed the Village of Fontana Department of Public Works (DPW) to manage the collection of deer for testing and authorized the collection and sampling of deer on village property. They also allowed deer harvested by landowners on private land under a DNR-issued permit to be taken to their public works office for sample collection as well,” Hauge said.
This latest positive deer was killed in a collision with a car in December. The Village of Fontana DPW collected the deer, removed the head and sent it to the DNR for CWD sampling. This is part of an on-going CWD surveillance effort in Walworth County that will continue until the end of March. The DNR is using hunter harvest, scientific collector’s permits, agency shooters, box traps, and car-killed deer in hopes of sampling at least two deer per section of land within 10 miles from the original Fontana positive. Since November 2003, the Village of Fontana has provided 13 deer for sampling. Five of the 13 were car-killed deer. The remaining eight deer were taken under the authority of scientific collector’s permits.
To date, eight of the 13 sampled deer have tested negative for CWD, one has tested positive, and four results are still pending.
“We are about half way to reaching our surveillance goal of collecting two deer per section of land within 10 miles of the first Fontana CWD-positive. We need continued local support in order to reach this goal,” said Tami Ryan, DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor.
Landowners within 10 miles of the original Fontana positive deer that are interested in applying for a scientific collector’s permit are encouraged to call the Waukesha County Service Center at (262) 574-2100. Permits are valid until March 31 and allow landowners, or their agents, within 10 miles of the original Fontana CWD-positive deer to take deer outside of the normal hunting season and are requires them to have the deer tested for CWD.
An open house informational meeting has been scheduled for February 19 in Kenosha County to discuss the recent discovery of CWD in that county and the presence of CWD in Walworth County.
Department staff will be on hand to answer questions about the disease and how to obtain a permit. The open house will run from 3:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Richard Bong State Recreational Area, 26313 Burlington Rd, Kansasville. A herd status meeting for deer management units 77B, 77C, and 77M will follow the open house.
For more information on CWD or to view testing results, please visit www.dnr.state.wi.us.