Add nine to CWD infected deer list

Editor

Madison With deer hunters preparing for the Oct. 24 start to the
liberal CWD season in south-central Wisconsin and the statewide
opening of the four-day Zone T antlerless deer season, the state
learned that nine more CWD-positive deer were found in the Mt.
Horeb area, and another CWD-positive game farm deer was found this
time in Walworth County.

“Things just keep happening quickly on the CWD front,” said Brad
Koele, the DNR’s assistant deer ecologist.

At the time the news came in on more CWD-positive deer, Koele
was preparing to work a deer head collection station in the CWD
Eradication Zone during this week’s opener of the new special
season. Stations also have been set up across the state to collect
500 heads per county, beginning this week in all Zone T units.
(Please see page 27 of this issue for a listing of head collection
stations).

“All stations will be manned Thursday through Sunday, but we
expect to collect the bulk of the heads on Saturday and Sunday,”
Koele said.

In the meantime, DNR biologists and conservation wardens are
trying to sort through the latest test results.

The test results from the Aug. 10-16 shooting period in the
Eradication Zone turned up nine positives out of 358 deer tested.
These nine new positives bring the tally of known CWD cases to 40
wild deer since the first positives were announced on Feb. 28.

One of the new cases was shot about one mile northwest of the
village of Cross Plains and was close enough to the zone boundary
to require that the zone be expanded by 22 square to 419 square
miles.

In another development, a CWD-positive doe was been found on a
game farm operated by James Hirschboeck in Walworth County. The
farm has been under quarantine since Sept. 20. This brings the
total of known CWD-positive farmed deer to two. The positive deer
was one of four tested.

Also last week, DNR officials were tracking license sales to see
whether recent advertising and billboard campaigns urging hunters
into the field have shown any results.

Overall, licenses were still running about 22 percent down,
based on sales through Sept. 24.

Patron license sales are up from the previous year by about 1
percent. Resident gun licenses are down the most 33 percent from
last year. Koele pointed out that each year a big share of the gun
licenses are sold the week before the season.

Archery licenses are down 29 percent, and sportsmen’s licenses
are down 14 percent.

Ironically, nonresident patron and sports licenses are up 54
percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Some hunters have suggested that if the DNR is hurting for money
because of a lack of license sales that the agency consider selling
a second buck tag, through emergency order, to hunters who are
willing to gamble $20 on the chance of shooting a second buck.
Koele said there has been no talk with the DNR about that
possibility.

Also, DNR wardens remain involved in the inspection of all
licensed white-tailed deer farms. Although more than 80 wardens
have been involved in this effort, no more than 60 wardens work on
the inspections at any time. Wardens are expected to be in the
field during the Zone T season this week.

“Our wardens began the statewide effort and have inspected 69
deer farms so far,” said Tom Harelson, DNR chief warden. “Our goal
is to inspect all 590 DNR-licensed deer farms before the end of the
year.”

At each location, wardens inspect the integrity of fences and
attempt to visually inspect each deer to see if it appears to be
healthy. Some operations are asked to provide records of deer sales
and purchases.

“Generally, we’ve received good cooperation from deer farm
owners so far and we anticipate that cooperation will continue,”
Harelson said.

“Many deer farmers owners were notified ahead of time that
wardens would be inspecting their operations,” he said. The vast
majority appreciated the advance notice and welcomed the wardens to
conduct thorough inspections. No warrants have been needed to
inspect any properties.”

As part of the earlier investigations that arose after the
discovery of the CWD-positive deer in Portage County, wardens
served search warrants at three separate deer farms.

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