Contact(s): Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief, 608-266-3143
MADISON--Increased surveillance, increased sampling, carcass movement restrictions and local community involvement are just some the goals outlined in the recently updated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources CWD Response Plan.
The updated plan, the result of a collaborative effort between DNR, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and key stakeholders, will be the guide for CWD response and management over the next five years. Implementation of the plan as part of Gov. Scott Walker's Chronic Wasting Disease Initiative has already begun.
Among the key points in the plan is the work of County Deer Advisory Councils and local communities. The citizen based CDACs set the deer population goals for their counties, which is an important factor in those counties where CWD has been detected.
"We can't emphasize enough the importance of the work carried out by the County Deer Advisory Councils, hunters and citizens," said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. "They know more about the deer herd in their counties than anyone and their contribution is a valuable tool in addressing CWD."
When a detection is found in a new area, DNR in collaboration with the CDAC and local landowners will launch a rapid response Citizen Advisory Team to determine the extent of CWD, share the information widely, and collectively determine the appropriate response.
Team members will host citizen-based informational meetings in several locations in the county. They will go "door-to-door" visiting landowners within a 2-mile radius of the positive detection to help develop and promote voluntary landowner surveillance testing permits, encourage the reporting of "sick deer" at the local level, and educate landowners on the current feeding and baiting regulations.
This approach was first used after the 2011 CWD discovery in Washburn County where there hasn't been a positive CWD detection since. The same idea is now being deployed in Lincoln County where the first case of CWD was announced in January.
Hunters play a vital role in tracking and managing the disease. The updated plan calls for making more CWD sampling opportunities available to hunters through sampling kiosks around the state and making more hunters aware of self-sampling testing kits. The department will continue to encourage hunters to get their harvested deer tested not only for their own piece of mind but to help us track the disease.
Realizing that deer carcass movement around the state and carcass disposal practices may play a role in the spread of CWD, there will be increased efforts to make hunters aware of the risks of moving carcasses from CWD positive counties to other counties where CWD has not been reported. Proper carcass disposal will also be stressed. New information on proper disposal can be found on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for "deer carcass disposal sites."
DATCP, which has authority over deer farms, is working closely with stakeholders to address biosecurity measures through rule language that will result in enhanced fencing requirements at game farms where a CWD positive has been found.
There is no single solution to eradicating CWD but it will take a collaborative effort of state agencies, Conservation Congress, CDACs, hunters and the public to better manage it.