DNR: Test results provide current snapshot of CWD in south-central Wisconsin

Feb. 25, 2014

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Tami Ryan, DNR Wildlife Health section chief, 608-266-3143


MADISON — Through 12 years of ongoing surveillance efforts, Department of Natural Resources officials are able to maintain a current picture of trends and prevalence of chronic wasting disease within the area previously known as the CWD management zone in southern Wisconsin.

Based on 2013 test results for the western monitoring area, encompassing western Dane and Eastern Iowa counties where sampling has been occurring annually since the disease was discovered, current prevalence is near 25 percent for adult male white-tailed deer, 10 percent for adult female deer, about 7 percent in yearling males and about 6 percent in yearling females. Prevalence has increased in all categories.

"Sampling deer from these areas where there has been long-term monitoring of disease patterns is important to understanding the dynamics of this disease," said Tami Ryan, DNR Wildlife Health section chief. "Prevalence has been increasing as expected, and we continue to find that prevalence is higher in males than females and higher in adults than yearlings."

For 2013, DNR staff tested deer from within and outside of the CWD-MZ in south central and southeastern Wisconsin. The sampling strategies were aimed at detecting changes in the location and trends in prevalence of the disease. Monitoring plans focused surveillance on adult deer, which are most likely to have the disease.

Beginning in 2014, with the approval of the Deer Trustee Report rule package, DNR will have a new funding source available beginning this fall to provide hunter service testing statewide. The funding comes from having the authority to apply $5 from each additional antlerless deer permit sale in CWD-affected counties towards CWD testing and monitoring.

"Prior to this change, DNR received no money from additional permits sales. We are pleased to now have a consistent funding stream for CWD testing and monitoring," said Ryan.

Also emerging from the rule is the Deer Management Assistance Program and the formation of county deer committees, both of which give DNR flexibility to work locally to develop cooperative approaches to disease surveillance and management.

"It's important to be able to work cooperatively with hunters and landowners, as their participation is essential to CWD surveillance," said Ryan. "It's also very important that we connect with the local communities so they can stay informed on deer disease and DNR's approach to monitoring. They are also the conduit for public sentiment, sharing information with us in addition to taking information back to their community."

More information on CWD or details on 2013 sampling and prevalence is available at dnr.wi.gov, search keyword "CWD."

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