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DNR confirms CWD detected in wild deer in Marathon County

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Marathon County. The CWD-positive deer was an adult deer harvested in the Reid Township during the 2019 antlerless deer hunting season and was tested as part of the DNR’s disease surveillance efforts.

This is the first wild deer that tested positive for CWD in Marathon County, and its location is also within 10 miles of adjacent Shawano, Portage and Waupaca counties.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. Marathon, Shawano, Portage and Waupaca counties are already identified as CWD-affected counties and already have baiting and feeding bans in place.

As required by law, this new CWD-positive detection will renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Marathon County and a two-year ban in Waupaca County. A recent CWD positive detection in a wild deer in Portage County will renew a three-year ban for that county. Shawano County had a farm-raised deer CWD-positive detection last fall, which renewed a three-year ban for that county.

“We are committed to working closely with local communities, including the citizen-based County Deer Advisory Councils as we explore future management options for this disease in Marathon and the surrounding counties,” said Ryan Haffele, DNR wildlife area supervisor. “We have had a concerted effort to sample in this area since 2014 following the detection of CWD in a captive deer herd.”

In response to the detection of this CWD-positive wild deer, the DNR will:

_ Coordinate swiftly with County Deer Advisory Council members from the counties impacted by this detection and schedule meetings in February 2020 to discuss response actions, including the issuance of CWD surveillance permits this winter.

_ Determine surveillance activities to assess disease distribution and prevalence also to include.

_ Encouraging reporting of sick deer.

_ Sampling vehicle-killed adult deer when feasible.

_ Sampling adult deer harvested under agricultural damage permits.

_ Encourage hunters to follow recommendations to help prevent the spread of CWD.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. 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. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state’s wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin and for information on how to have deer tested, visit the DNR’s baiting and feeding ( and CWD sampling ( registersample.html) webpages respectively.