Madison, Wis. The Wisconsin DNR announced Tuesday that it had
confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease in five more
deer. That brings the total number of deer found in Wisconsin
testing positive for the disease to 10.
A special hunt in the area of Wisconsin where chronic wasting
disease has been found brought in 14 more deer for testing, game
managers said on Saturday. That raised the total to 368 deer killed
in Dane and Iowa counties in southern Wisconsin since the
announcement Feb. 28 that three bucks shot near Mount Horeb in
November had the fatal brain disease the first time it has been
found in deer or elk east of the Mississippi River.
The Wisconsin DNR said Friday that two deer killed in the same
area tested positive for the disease. The agency announced five
more positive tests on Tuesday. All the deer confirmed to have CWD
have been found in close proximity to the site of the original
outbreak near Mt. Horeb.
The DNR has had landowners and agency sharpshooters hunting for
deer in a 415-square-mile area. The goal is to get brain samples
from 500 deer for use in estimating what percentage of the state
deer herd might be affected. The only way to test for the disease
is to kill the animal and obtain a brain sample.
“We still have a ways to go,” Tom Hauge, DNR chief of wildlife
management and leader of a team investigating the outbreak, said
The DNR is feeling some pressure to complete the hunt quickly
for safety reasons, he said.
“There’s a lot of spring activity,” Hauge said. “Farmers are in
their fields, people are out looking for wildlife and mushrooms. We
all come out of hibernation in the spring.”
The disease has prompted hunters to seek information as they
wait for the DNR to complete the sampling in the Mount Horeb area
and develop strategies against the disease.
In Glenwood Springs, Colo., hunters met with state wildlife
officials to discuss the first appearance of chronic wasting
disease west of the Continental Divide in Colorado.
“We’ve got to not only be able to defend the Western Slope, but
you’ve got Utah, Arizona, the other Western states that are going
to ask us to do whatever we can to stop the thing,” said Denny
Behrens, executive director of the Colorado Mule Deer Association
Colorado officials said Friday that at least one wild deer near
Craig had the fatal brain malady. State Division of Wildlife
officials said they are trying to fight the disease, even though
they are not sure how it spreads.
“A lot of people have said you can’t manage this disease until
you know how it is transmitted,” said Mike Miller, a Division of
Wildlife veterinarian. “I don’t think we need to know everything
about how it is transmitted (to take steps to control it).”
State officials are destroying captive elk herds where the
disease has been found. They plan to kill at least 300 wild deer
within a five-mile radius of the Craig-area ranch where the
diseased deer was found.