Contact(s): Tim Marien, DNR wildlife health biologist, 608-264-6046; Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief, 608-266-3143
March 15, 2016
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sampled more than 3,100 deer for chronic wasting disease statewide in 2015. In all, 290 positive detections were made, primarily within the endemic area in southern Wisconsin.
"Once again, hunter cooperation has been outstanding. This year was our first sampling year under the new electronic deer registration system, and we used this opportunity to try new collection methods," said Tim Marien, DNR wildlife health biologist. "Although the total number of deer tested decreased from 2014, that was not unexpected this first year. We learned from the experience and will continue to work closely with hunters to make sample submission convenient and gather more samples."
The department has monitored trends in chronic wasting disease distribution and prevalence within Wisconsin since its discovery in 2002.
According to Marien, prevalence continues to increase within the department's long-term monitoring area in southwest Wisconsin, and remains higher in males than females and higher in adults than yearlings.
Monitoring efforts also included ongoing surveillance within a 10-mile radius of each new CWD positive wild deer found in 2012 in Juneau, Adams, and Portage counties in central Wisconsin. Since then, eight additional positives were found in Adams and Portage counties
Surveillance was also conducted surrounding CWD-positive captive deer facilities in Marathon and Eau Claire counties, with no wild CWD deer detected.
Efforts in 2015-16 marked the fourth year of CWD surveillance in Washburn County, following the 2012 discovery of a CWD-positive adult doe near Shell Lake in northwest Wisconsin. Following recommendations from a local community action team, local landowners and hunters helped the department sample more than 2,000 deer in the area over the last four years. No new positives have been detected. Based on four years of sampling, all information has indicated the disease is not widespread in the Washburn area, and may occur at a very low prevalence rate.
"On behalf of our whole department, I want to thank hunters for their continued role in providing samples and helping us monitor this disease within Wisconsin," said Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief.