Wisconsin game farm quarantined after CWD found

Tigerton, Wis. — The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has confirmed a positive test for chronic wasting disease (CWD) on the Wilderness Game Farm located just outside of Tigerton in Shawano County.

The Wisconsin DNR announced that the positive test was discovered in a 3-year-old buck.

Ranch records show the lone positive was one of 16 tests done inside the ranch so far in 2017. The Wilderness Game Farm holds 245 deer inside its fences. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, was the firm that confirmed the test results.

The DNR said the infected deer was born at Comet Creek, Inc., which is the breeding facility for Wilderness Game Farm. The animal was born in May 2014 and transferred to the hunting ranch in Shawano County in September 2015.

The breeding facility – Comet Creek – is located just outside the city limits of Waupaca in Waupaca County.

State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw said both premises will be quarantined by the DATCP, but the game farm will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined ranch because “properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.”

Also allowed will be the movement of deer from the breeding farm to the ranch and to slaughter, but movement of live deer to anywhere else is not allowed.

Officials will now initiate an investigation that examines the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off of both properties to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD-positive deer.

In accordance with state law, any positive test of a wild or captive deer automatically puts into place a three-year ban on baiting and feeding in the county where the test was confirmed. Shawano County was already banned from baiting and feeding, as were all neighboring counties aside from Winnebago.

Because that county is not within a 150-mile radius, the positive test at the Tigerton farm does not force a ban there on baiting and feeding.

According to DATCP Communications Director Bill Cosh, the farm where the deer was killed is located at N2632 Breaker Road in Tigerton. It is 481 acres in size and prior to the recent discovery had never had an animal test positive.

As the presence of CWD has increased across the Wisconsin landscape, DNR officials have required the testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die or are killed.

Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, 18 currently have CWD detected in the wild deer herd. Of the 18 counties, 15 are within the area previously known as the CWD Management Zone, three counties of which include positives just outside of the border of the former zone (Grant, Waukesha, and Juneau counties).

Three counties with positives are outside of the former zone (Washburn, Portage, and Adams counties).

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