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CWD in the News

Update on Washburn County CWD Positive

Questions and answers about CWD in Washburn County
Map of Washburn County CWD positive location

Washburn County deer tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Shell Lake, April 2, 2012 – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that CWD was detected in a wild adult doe found on private property just west of Shell Lake in Washburn County.

Tissue samples have been confirmed as CWD-positive at both the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. The DNR received the final test results late on Friday, March 30.    The 3 1/2-year old doe was euthanized by the Washburn County Sherriff’s Office on a small parcel of private land.

In order to find out if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, this fall DNR will begin a focused disease surveillance effort within a 10-mile radius around the positive location.  “The fall archery and gun deer hunting seasons provide an excellent, cost-effective method to collect valuable samples,” said Kurt Thiede, Land Administrator for DNR.

This is the first wild CWD-positive deer to found in northern Wisconsin and within the Ceded Territory where the Ojibwe Tribes maintain harvest and gathering rights. 

"No changes are anticipated this fall in the broad framework of the hunting seasons,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “We are reviewing today’s news with our wildlife experts and are reaching out to notify the DNR Board, tribal representatives, the DATCP and the MN DNR. In addition, we have relayed this information to Dr. Kroll."

Under state statutes, the DNR is required to enact a ban on the feeding and baiting of deer in any county that is within 10 miles of any captive or free-roaming deer that tests positive for either CWD or Tb. This CWD-positive deer is within Washburn County and is within 10 miles of Barron, Burnett and Polk Counties. We anticipate the ban on baiting and feeding within these counties to take effect on September 1, 2012.

Thiede noted, “The location of this deer was more than 100 miles from the nearest known cases of the disease in either wild or captive deer.  Our field staff will be working with local citizens, registration stations, processors and taxidermists to collect tissue samples to learn if any other sick deer exist near this case.”

In addition, the DNR will begin to implement other steps, such as collecting adult road kill deer to gather additional samples.

CWD is a nervous system disease of deer, moose, and elk. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family, both wild and captive. Current information suggests that CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal to animal contact and indirectly from a CWD-prion contaminated environment. Recent studies indicate that CWD prions exist in the saliva, urine, and feces of infected deer.

To learn more about CWD, please visit other portions of this web site or the Wisconsin DNR site and enter the search key word CWD.


Hunt. Harvest. Help featured in Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine

The Hunt. Harvest. Help program was featured in the December issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. The article discusses the Wisconsin DNR's approach to CWD and what has been learned since 2002. Click to download the entire article


Deer Donation Need Is Up

HUNTERS: Food Pantries need your help

MADISON – As hunters hit the field for Wisconsin’s 9-day firearm season, food pantries across the state are pleading with deer hunters to consider donating an extra deer this year. 

Jerry Stoddard, owner of Stoddard Country Grove Market in Cottage Grove, and Dick Dickman, owner of Dick’s Quality Meats in Mt. Horeb, participate in the pantry donation program which provides venison to local food pantries. 

“In the past, people have been really good about donating,” Dickman said.  This fall, Dickman said that the number of deer being brought to his market during archery season have been good.  “They’re out there,” said Dickman. “And they’re all big deer.”

However, Stoddard and Dickman agree that deer donation numbers are down this year.  

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began the deer donation program in 2000 to help feed the hungry and give hunters a place to donate extra deer.  Hunters have a place to take deer and help provide local families in need of food some lean, healthy meat that a whitetail deer provides.  

Though numbers of donated deer are down, Stoddard still believes the program is valuable. “It’s a great program,” he said. “We hope it continues even though donations are down. There are certainly a lot of hungry people out there.” 

Michelle Friedrich with the Southwest Community Action Partnership (SWCAP) in Dodgeville and the Target Hunger point person stresses the need for deer donation. “Being able to provide venison to needy families helps to fill the gap resulting from government cutbacks in these programs,” she said. Last year, Target Hunger received more than 58,000 pounds of venison from 1,300 donated deer. Their goal is to reach 2,000 deer donations this season.

How the Donation Process Works

When a hunter harvests a deer all that is required is that the animal be field dressed in a proper manner, then registered at any official DNR registration station. After that they can drop off the entire animal at any of approximately 114 participating deer processors across 51 WI counties. 

Many of the pantry donation locations within the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone (CWD-MZ) will also sample and register deer. The DNR recommends that hunters who wish to donate a deer that was harvested in the CWD-MZ take it to a processor who operates within the CWD-MZ as well. Both Stoddard Country Market and Dick’s Quality Meats are located within the CWD-MZ. 

“We skin them, bone them out and freeze them in crates with the registration tags. Then we wait for the test results,” says Stoddard. The test result he is referring to is the one that determines if a deer has CWD. If a deer tests positive, the meat is disposed of in an approved manner. If the tests come back negative, the meat is ground into hamburger and distributed to food pantries. This test is only done for deer harvested in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone.  

It’s just a great program and the food pantry really, really appreciates it,” added Dickman, who gives all of his donated venison to SWCAP. “It’s all being done right.” 

Locate a deer donation station.  

Links to Articles About CWD

 Campaign Aims at CWD 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has unveiled "Hunt, Harvest, Help," a campaign to increase public awareness of its efforts to control chronic wasting disease in the state.

Wisconsin Opens Website about CWD - Reveals New Plan

Recently the WDNR has changed its tactics for combating the disease through nearly a decade of advanced research and public trial and error. Wisconsin’s new management strategy is significantly different and can currently be viewed by anyone who has access to a computer. 

Lichens found to degrade chronic wasting’s prions 

A laboratory study has found that lichens on Wisconsin's landscape break down the infectious proteins that are responsible for causing chronic wasting disease, or CWD - the devastating neurological disorder that was discovered in Wisconsin's wild deer population in 2002.

State to buy CWD parcel in Portage County 

Wisconsin has moved to purchase an 80-acre game farm in Portage County that once housed dozens of deer infected with chronic wasting disease.

Durkin: Feds wash hands of worsening CWD

Toss those latex gloves, shout “I told you so!” and tell the state veterinarian and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resourcs to quit fretting about chronic wasting disease.

 CWD in deer increasing but not spreading, DNR reports 

BARABOO — Testing of deer shot in 2010 for chronic wasting disease shows it has not spread to new areas of Wisconsin, an official said last week.

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