DES MOINES – The Iowa DNR will continue collecting deer tissue samples in Allamakee, Jackson and Dubuque counties though the late muzzleloader season that ends Jan. 10. The three counties, along with Clayton County, were the focus of the tissue sample collection effort looking for the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Iowa deer.

To be as statistically accurate as possible, a minimum of 459 samples need to be collected in each of the counties. So far, only Clayton County has reached that level.

“What that does is gives us a 99 percent probability of detecting a 1 percent infection rate of the disease,” said Dale Garner, DNR wildlife biologist and state CWD expert. “We could use some additional samples, especially in Allamakee County.”

So far, the DNR has sent in tissue samples from nearly 500 deer that were killed on Iowa roadways or died as part of a captive herd. “We have results on about 200 of those samples and have not had one test positive,” Garner said. Results can take as much as three to six months.

“This whole process of taking a deer to a certain place and have the sample collected is new to Iowa hunters and, with anything new, there is an adjustment period,” he said. “We appreciate the cooperation from those hunters who either called us to come out to the field and collect a sample or stopped by the collection station.”

After the deer season ends, Garner and other DNR staff will look at the data results and discuss the next phase of the monitoring effort.

“I would guess we (DNR) will be collecting tissue samples during deer hunting seasons for the foreseeable future,” Garner said. “The health of the deer herd is important to Iowans.”

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