Contact(s): Janet Brehm, DNR wildlife biologist, 715-409-3277
MERRILL, Wis. - Targeted chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance will occur in two separate areas near Rhinelander this fall.
Deer will be sampled in northern Lincoln, northern Langlade and southern Oneida counties following the detection of CWD in two wild deer along the Lincoln/Oneida county border. Deer in eastern Oneida, southern Vilas and western Forest counties will continue to be sampled as a result of CWD positive deer on an Oneida County captive deer hunting ranch, first detected in 2015.
"Department of Natural Resources staff strongly encourage hunters to submit adult deer heads for testing from these areas. It is very important that we sample adult deer in these areas to gauge what is going on with this disease and to detect the infection early," said Janet Brehm, DNR wildlife biologist.
In addition to voluntary sampling in 2018, DNR staff will offer CWD surveillance permits to landowners within the Lincoln/Oneida wild positive area, as well as the area surrounding the captive deer positives in Three Lakes. CWD surveillance authorizations will also be available on select parcels of public land within these areas. CWD testing is a requirement for adult deer harvested with these surveillance permits. Private landowners should refer to the map below to determine if your land is in this area.
Private land surveillance permits will be issued from the Rhinelander and Merrill DNR offices by appointment only. For Rhinelander, contact Jeremy Holtz at 715-401-2871. For Merrill, contact Carissa Freeh at 608-220-1817 or via email at carissa.freeh@Wisconsin.gov. Public land permits will be available at the Rhinelander DNR Service Center and Merrill DNR Ranger Station counters between 8:30AM and 4:00PM offices beginning November 8. For public land CWD surveillance authorizations, no appointment is needed.
The DNR's goal is to test 450 deer inside each Surveillance Area to determine range and infection rate for CWD. Hunters outside these surveillance areas can also have their adult deer tested at CWD sampling locations. Self-service kiosks are available to any hunter for CWD sampling. Simply follow the directions found at any kiosk, which includes removing the deer's head (including a portion of neck) and completing a datasheet. Removing antlers does not affect test results.
CWD sample submission is currently available at the following self-service kiosk locations:
DNR staff may add additional locations and are currently looking for cooperators to assist with CWD sampling. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "CWD sampling" for current sampling locations.
For information regarding CWD test results, search keywords "CWD results." To view CWD results for a harvested deer, hunters will need to enter a customer ID or CWD sample barcode number. CWD testing is free of charge to the hunter, and average turnaround time from when the deer is brought to a sampling station to when the results are available is typically two to three weeks.
CWD self-sample testing kits are available at the Rhinelander DNR Service Center as well as the Antigo DNR Satellite Center. These kits include all supplies and instruction necessary for hunters to collect CWD lymph node samples from harvested deer, and a prepaid envelope for mailing samples to the DNR CWD Processing Center. These kits are free and are distributed on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.
If test results come back positive for CWD, hunters should follow advice from the Center for Disease Control [EXIT DNR], Wisconsin Department of Health Services and World Health Organization [EXIT DNR] to not consume venison from that deer.
DNR staff are interested in reports of sick deer or deer with an unknown cause of death, but it is important to note that they are not currently examining car-killed deer. Contact your local DNR wildlife biologist to report a sick or dead deer or call the DNR's Customer Service hotline at 1-800-847-9367.