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DNR offers robust statewide CWD testing, new online form for hunters

In cooperation with local businesses, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will collect deer heads for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing during the 2020 archery, crossbow and gun hunting seasons. 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, thanks to deer hunters around the state. 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. Hunters will find a unique link to the online form in their harvest registration confi rmation 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 through- out the state.

“This fall in particular, CWD testing by hunters in northwestern and northeastern Wisconsin will be crucial in our effort to understand where CWD occurs in our state,” Kamps said. “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.”

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

The 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.

Recent CWD-positive cases in the Chippewa Valley area have spurred the need for increased sampling from deer harvested in Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin and Trempealeau counties. Hunters who harvest deer in Marathon, Lincoln and Oneida counties are also encouraged to have their deer tested to monitor for CWD around recent positives there.

CWD sampling locations

Hunters have several options available to have their deer sampled for CWD and all locations can be found on the DNR website at WildlifeHabitat/registersample.html. The web page includes an interactive map with sampling locations available in your area and there is also a searchable database available as an alternative to the map view.

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.

The DNR Ranger Station in Medford serves as one of the self-service sampling stations.

Hunters should contact staffed sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation.