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Wisconsin collects deer heads to assist CWD research

MADISON, Wis. — In cooperation with local businesses, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will collect deer heads for chronic wasting disease testing during the 2020 archery, crossbow and gun hunting seasons.

Hunters should make plans to visit a sampling station to have their deer submitted for testing.

“Hunters who haven’t had their deer tested before might be concerned about the time involved or just not know what to expect when having their deer tested,” said Amanda Kamps, DNR wildlife health conservation specialist. “We offer a variety of ways for hunters to participate, letting them choose the route that’s most convenient for them.”

New this year, hunters have a digital option for entering their CWD testing information when visiting one of the hundreds of self-service and in-person sampling stations around the state. Successful hunters will find a unique link to the online form in their harvest registration confirmation email or in their Go Wild harvest history.

Testing for CWD is available to hunters statewide. This year, hunters in northwestern and northeastern Wisconsin are strongly encouraged to participate in the department’s effort to map where CWD occurs throughout the state.

Counties with heightened focus in northeastern Wisconsin are: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.

Counties with heightened focus in northwestern Wisconsin are: Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Taylor.

“Every last sample counts, so if you’re hunting in one of these counties, make sure to visit us online to find the most convenient sampling location near you,” Kamps said.

A map of where samples are most needed is posted at https://p.widencdn.net/kv6vws/surveillanceplan.

Hunters have several options available to have their deer sampled for CWD, and all locations can be found on the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/registersample.html.

In addition to a network of 24/7 self-service sampling stations — also called kiosks — across the state, many meat processors and businesses offer in-person sampling assistance.

A sample consists of the deer head with 3 to 5 inches of neck attached. Hunters also will need to have their harvest authorization number, harvest location and contact information when submitting a sample.

To make special arrangements for large bucks, call the closest DNR wildlife biologist.

Hunters are encouraged to dispose of deer carcass waste in a licensed landfill that accepts this waste or in a dumpster designated for deer carcass waste. If a municipality allows deer disposal curbside or at a transfer station, the carcass should be double bagged. If these options are not available and the deer was harvested on private land, burying the deer carcass waste or returning it to the location of the harvest are the next best options. It is illegal to dispose of deer carcass waste on any public lands.

Hunters are reminded that baiting and feeding is prohibited in some counties, including Florence, Forest and Marinette. No counties in the state will be removed from the ban during the 2020 deer hunting seasons.

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