MADISON — A Walworth County deer herd infected with chronic wasting disease was destroyed Wednesday, Dec. 11, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials said.
A 118-whitetail herd owned by James Hirschboeck, Eagle, was put down by gunshot beginning shortly after 8 a.m. A single animal from the herd previously tested positive for CWD.
A team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services shot the animals. Heads from all the animals were removed by staff from DATCP and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Veterinary Services and sent to the Department of Natural Resources processing center in Black Earth to be sampled for CWD. Samples will be sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Wiebke Fur Co. of LaCrosse picked up the carcasses, and will freeze and store them until test results are back. If any of the animals tests positive, those carcasses will be incinerated at Midwest Cremation Service of Wisconsin, Poynette, where the DNR has sent the carcasses of free-ranging deer from its CWD eradication zone. Carcasses from negative animals will be landfilled.
Hirschboeck will be required to burn or bury all feed, bedding, manure and wooden feed troughs used by the deer. He also must clean all organic material from metal, concrete or plastic items that came in contact with the animals. DATCP staff will then disinfect those articles with a strong chlorine bleach solution. In areas or heavy animal traffic, the owner will need to scrape off and bury 2 inches of topsoil and replace it.
If no more animals from Hirschboeck’s farm test positive, he will be allowed to re-introduce deer or other cervids such as elk after a year. He may use the property for other species in the meantime.
Hirschboeck will receive a state indemnity payment for his animals. The exact amount will be set after the animals are examined to determine their age and sex. However, disposal costs will be deducted from the indemnity payment. Those costs will depend on whether more animals test positive.
The state indemnity pays two-thirds of the value of each animal or $1,500, whichever is less. Ordinarily there is also a federal indemnity payment, but there is no federal money available at the moment.
DATCP contracted with Wildlife Services from the department’s $500,000 share of $4 million in emergency CWD funding appropriated by the Legislature earlier this year.
DATCP’s general policy is to destroy any herd in which an animal tests positive for CWD, as well as the herd that the positive animal came from.