The following page includes information on CWD in northern WI.
Know CWD website [exit DNR]Included on this site is general information about CWD in Wisconsin including common misconceptions.
- Explore chronic wasting disease
- Contact information
- For information on CWD, contact:
- Timothy Marien
CWD wildlife biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Carefully selected areas will be tested for CWD each year
In 2013, the DNR is focusing efforts to sample adult deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in specific areas of the CWD Management Zone and the rest of the state . For the rest of Wisconsin the DNR will sample adult deer around CWD positive wild deer locations, within the vicinity of deer farms that have previously tested positive for CWD, new areas of interest for CWD detection and any deer showing signs of CWD.
We need to be efficient with our available resources, and make smart choices about where, each year, it is most important to do sampling to get the information we need to best manage CWD into the future. Staff and funding are not available to conduct complete surveillance every year either within or outside of the CWD-MZ.
In 1999 - 2001, 1,092 deer were sampled statewide. After CWD was discovered outside of Mt. Horeb in the spring of 2002, DNR did statewide testing of over 40,000 deer from 2002-2003 to see if CWD was in other areas of the state. DNR conducts annual testing in the CWD Management Zone targeting the two main areas of CWD infection and began a rotating focus on the other areas of the state outside of the CWD Management Zone for efficiency and cost-savings.
Sporadically collected samples from normal, hunter-harvested deer are disproportionately expensive, and do not contribute significantly to our understanding of CWD in Wisconsin. However, samples collected from adult deer who are sick and have signs compatible with CWD -for example, abnormal behavior, thin body condition, abnormal body conformation or excessive drooling- are very valuable for detecting new cases of CWD in our state.
So, if you see a sick deer, please report it! Or, if you can, while hunting harvest the deer for the DNR to sample and you will receive a replacement tag to harvest another deer to keep.
Even within the CWD-MZ, we need to focus efforts on collecting samples in certain areas, with the goal of building our data on CWD to best monitor if and how it is spreading, and how our control efforts are having an impact. Because this long term monitoring is so important, we continue to collect as many samples as possible from core monitoring areas in Dane and Iowa counties and near the border with Illinois. These are areas where surveillance to monitor the disease have been ongoing for many years. Each year, other focus areas are chosen in the CWD-MZ to best meet additional goals.
The department highly discourages the testing of any fawns regardless of where they were harvested. Of the more than 15,800 fawns from the CWD-MZ that have been tested, only 27 tested positive, and most of those were nearly one year old.
It is exceedingly unlikely that a deer less than one year old would test positive for CWD, even in the higher CWD prevalence areas of southern Wisconsin. Few fawns will have been exposed to CWD, and because this disease spreads through the deer's body very slowly, it is very rare that CWD has progressed in a fawn to a level that is detectable. This means that testing a fawn provides almost no information valuable to understanding CWD in Wisconsin's deer herd and does not provide information of great value to the hunter in making a decision about venison consumption.
There are veterinary clinics in many areas of the state who will sample deer for CWD testing, for a fee. If a hunter feels strongly about getting a deer tested and is willing to bring it to a CWD sampling station in the CWD-MZ, DNR will test it free of charge, regardless of where it was harvested or if it is a fawn.