Wisconsin DNR urges CWD precautions

Organizations and businesses have sponsored kiosks so Wisconsin hunters can drop off deer heads for CWD sampling.

MADISON, Wis. — With the archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons underway, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends simple precautions hunters and landowners can take to help prevent and reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease.

CWD is a fatal contagious neurological disease of deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou that is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions cause brain degeneration in infected animals and lead to extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions.

CWD transmission occurs when infected animals shed prions through saliva, urine, feces, and natural decomposition after death. CWD can be spread both through direct (deer to deer) and indirect (deer to the contaminated environment) contact.

Precautions are particularly important for areas where CWD has not yet been detected. Hunters are asked to consider taking proactive measures to reduce the risks of disease transmission in the deer herd by following these voluntary recommendations:

— Prevent unnatural concentrations of deer;

— Reduce the amount of urine-based scent in the environment by using synthetic scents;

— Avoid transporting whole wild deer carcasses or any deer brain, spinal cord, spleen or lymph tissue to areas outside the county or adjacent county in which the deer was harvested;

— Use designated or disposable equipment to process deer and minimize contact with the brain, spinal cord, spleen, and lymph nodes.

— Soak all appropriate processing equipment and surfaces in a 50:50 bleach to water solution for at least one hour before rinsing with clean water.

— Dispose of deer carcass waste, including all bones and butcher waste, appropriately.

CWD is a risk to Wisconsin’s deer population and strong hunting culture as the disease continues to spread and prevalence rates increase. Without efforts to control the spread of CWD now, it has the potential to be damaging to not only our deer herd but also the social and economic stability of many communities in Wisconsin.

“The infectious nature of CWD contributes to an increased risk of introduction and spread of the disease,” said Tami Ryan, DNR’s acting director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. “We must all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease.”

For more information, go to the DNR website for “Recommendations for Reducing the Spread of CWD.”

Hunters may have their deer sampled for CWD

RHINELANDER, Wis. — In cooperation with local businesses, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will collect deer heads for chronic wasting disease surveillance testing during the 2019 deer hunting seasons.

As part of this effort, hunters who harvest an adult deer in Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Vilas, Forest and Florence counties are strongly encouraged to submit deer heads for testing. CWD testing is free of charge to the hunter, and anyone submitting the head will receive their results in two to three weeks.

In addition to focused sampling in northern Wisconsin, targeted CWD surveillance will continue in two specific areas near Rhinelander. These areas include portions of Lincoln, Langlade and Oneida counties where CWD was confirmed in three wild deer as well as in Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties where CWD has been detected on a captive deer farm.

Hunters have several options available to have their deer sampled for CWD. In addition to a network of 24/7 self-service sampling stations, also called kiosks, many meat processors and businesses offer in-person sampling assistance. Some sampling locations also have DNR Wildlife Management staff available to take samples and answer hunter questions.

For an interactive map with sampling locations available, go to dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “CWD sampling.” There also is a searchable database available as an alternative to the map view.

A sample consists of the deer head with 3-5 inches of neck attached. Hunters will also need to have their harvest authorization number, harvest location and contact information when submitting a sample. To make special arrangements for large bucks, call a nearby DNR wildlife biologist

Baiting and feeding of deer currently is prohibited in Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Florence counties. No counties in the state will be removed from the ban during the 2019 deer hunting seasons.

To view CWD results, go to dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “CWD results.” Hunters must enter a customer ID or CWD sample barcode number for results.

Turnaround time from when the deer is sampled to when the results are available is typically two weeks.