Wisconsin DNR encourages hunters to test deer for CWD

CWD testing locations map for Wisconsin. (Wisconsin DNR image)
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WLUC) - In cooperation with local businesses, CWD sampling options are available to hunters across northern Wisconsin in 2019. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will collect deer heads for disease detection surveillance in an effort to determine if and where CWD occurs on the landscape.

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

Hunters who harvest an adult deer in Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Vilas, Forest and Florence counties are strongly encouraged to submit a sample from the deer for CWD testing at sampling locations within those counties [PDF]. CWD testing is free of charge to the hunter, and anyone submitting a sample should receive test results typically 10-14 days after the deer is brought to a sampling station.

The health of the deer herd relies on commitment from hunters. Managing CWD begins with knowing where the disease exists on the landscape, and having this knowledge is only possible with a robust sample size. Please make plans to visit one of the following sampling stations to have your deer submitted for testing.

"We're grateful for hunters making that extra effort to have their deer sampled for CWD, and to support them, we continue to make access to sampling simpler, faster and easier each year," said Tami Ryan, acting Wildlife Management bureau director. "Each deer sample is important because it contributes to an accurate understanding of the health of Wisconsin's deer."

Hunters have several options available to have their deer sampled for CWD, and all locations can be found on the DNR website. In addition to a network of 24/7 self-service sampling stations (also called kiosks) around the state, 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 hunters' questions.

Hunters should contact staffed sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation. For an interactive map with sampling locations available in your area, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CWD sampling." There is also a searchable database available as an alternative to the map view.

A limited quantity of CWD self-sampling kits is also available at the Eau Claire DNR Service Center. These kits have all supplies necessary to collect a CWD sample, including a detailed instruction packet and prepaid return envelope. Hunters interested in a self-sample kit can pick them up during regular service center hours.

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, please call your nearby DNR wildlife biologist.

Deer Carcass Disposal

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.

Hunters can find a map with the CWD sampling locations and deer carcass disposal locations on the DNR website as well as in the Hunt Wild app.

Baiting and Feeding

Hunters are reminded that baiting and feeding is prohibited in La Crosse County. Check the DNR's baiting and feeding webpage frequently for updates. No counties in the state will be removed from the ban during the 2019 deer hunting seasons.

Prevent the spread of CWD

Voluntarily following recommended practices can reduce and prevent the spread of CWD. Those include proper carcass transportation, handling and disposal, also reporting sick deer, following baiting and feeding regulations and cleaning and decontaminating equipment. Hunters may also follow urine-based scent recommendations.

Sick deer reports

DNR staff members are interested in reports of sick deer. To report a sick deer, contact local wildlife staff or call the DNR Customer Service hotline at 1-800-847-9367.

Test results

To view CWD results for a harvested deer, visit DNR website. Hunters will need to enter a customer ID or CWD sample barcode number to view test results. The average turnaround time from when the deer is brought to a sampling station to when the results are available is typically two weeks.

If test results come back positive for CWD, advice from the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin's Department of Health Services and the World Health Organization is for hunters not to consume venison from that deer.

More information regarding CWD in Wisconsin, is available on the DNR website.

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