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Robust CWD testing offered statewide to hunters

Robust CWD testing offered statewide to hunters Robust CWD testing offered statewide to hunters

In cooperation with local businesses, Wisconsin DNR 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. 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.

“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,” said Kamps. “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, include Rusk, Taylor, Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Iron and Sawyer.

Recent CWD positive cases in the Chippewa Valley area, have spurred the need for increased sampling from deer harvested in Chippewa, Eau Claire, Dunn, Buffalo, 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.

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.

Hunters should contact staffed sampling stations in advance, to verify hours of operation. For an interactive map with sampling locations available, visit the DNR website. There is also 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.

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. Check the DNR’s baiting and feeding webpage frequently for updates. No counties in the state will be removed from the ban during the 2020 deer hunting seasons.

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

DNR staff members are also interested in reports of sick deer. To report a sick deer, contact local wildlife staff or call DNR customer service at 1-888-936-7463.

More information on CWD is available on the DNR website.

Cutline: There are hundreds of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling locations for deer hunters to utilize, available at self-serve kiosks around the state.