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Know CWD website

Know CWD [exit DNR] General information about CWD in Wisconsin including common misconceptions.

Contact information
For more information on CWD in northwest Wisconsin, contact:
Nancy Christel
Wildlife biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management

CWD detected in Washburn County in northwest Wisconsin

During the 2011 gun deer season, a 3.5-year-old doe exhibiting symptoms associated with chronic wasting disease (CWD) was sampled by Spooner DNR wildlife staff. Testing confirmed that this deer was positive for CWD. Genetic testing was also done, confirming that the 3.5-year-old doe was a wild deer from northwest Wisconsin. Since discovering CWD, the DNR has been actively testing deer found within a 10-mile radius of the initial positive deer's location, just west of Shell Lake.

Northwest Wisconsin CWD sampling

During the 2012-2016 CWD sampling seasons over 2,000 samples were collected. No additional CWD positive deer were detected, which strongly indicates that CWD was detected early in its infection of the deer herd of northwest Wisconsin.


Testing efforts are focused on deer harvested from Barron, Burnett, Polk and Washburn Counties, with an emphasis within the 10-mile intensive monitoring area [PDF]. Hunters can help by providing the head or lymph nodes from their adult deer at one of the sampling stations [PDF]. The easiest way to submit a sample is to remove the head at the time of processing, but there are saws supplied at the self-serve kiosks. It is important to test every adult deer that is harvested or dies within the 2-mile area for CWD.

CWD surveillance permits

The department will offer landowners within the Shell Lake 2-mile sampling area CWD surveillance permits to harvest adult deer of either sex for CWD testing. CWD surveillance permits were recommended by the CWD Citizen Advisory Team to focus sampling efforts that may provide valuable information regarding the health of deer on private lands.

Interested landowners within the 2-mile sampling area who would like a permit or more information should call Spooner DNR Service Center at 715-635-4025 by Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Participating landowners may assign hunters to harvest the deer and submit the head, and may assign someone else to pick up permits.

Carcass handling information

Minnesota hunters

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regulations are now in effect and Minnesota hunters will be prohibited from bringing back whole, field-dressed deer from Barron, Burnett, Polk and Washburn counties. Instead, hunters in those areas may only return to Minnesota with cut and wrapped meat, quarters or other portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached. They also can return with antlers, hides, teeth, finished taxidermy mounts and antlers attached to skull caps that are cleaned of all brain tissue.

Learn more

Citizen Advisory Team

The Citizen Advisory Team (CAT) was formed shortly after the department received a positive CWD result for the deer in 2011. As a group of concerned citizens pertaining to CWD in the Washburn County area, the CAT advises the department. Together, the CAT and department are working to manage for a healthy deer herd. If you have any questions, comments or concerns for the CAT, please feel free to contact any of the members listed below.

CAT members
Name Contact information
Barry Nielsen 715-468-2896, email
Bill Taubman 715-520-7692, email
Andy Eiche 715-939-2590, email
Joe Weiss 715-635-2209, 715-520-0517, email
Clint R. Stariha 715-645-0991
Last revised: Monday September 11 2017