Common Sense Prevails on Known CWD Farm
Chronic wasting disease has been virtually off the radar screen
in southwest Wisconsin much of the time since first discovered in
2002. It’s usually only when a hunter gets results of a positive
test that there is a little blip on someone’s screen.
Last fall news of a positive wild deer in Minnesota reminded us
that there is such a thing as CWD.
A suspect case in northern Wisconsin did the same. Fortunately,
further tests revealed that that Wisconsin deer did not have CWD,
using the best methods in science to answer that question.
Several weeks ago, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
requested permission to purchase a Portage County white-tailed deer
farm, which had numerous CWD-positive deer. Recently the Natural
Resources Board also gave a positive recommendation to the DNR
secretary and governor’s office.
The purchase, which is likely to occur, will cost the state
$465,000 for 80 acres, including a house.
In 2006, when the U. S. Department of Agriculture depopulated the
deer on the farm, 60 of the 76 deer tested positive for CWD.
Considering the fact that the CWD prions remain as infective agents
in soils for a number of years, exposing wild deer to that farm
could spell disaster for that area and the state in general. Wild
deer can be excluded by maintaining a good fence.
Many hunters in southern Wisconsin believe the DNR and DATCP should
do nothing to deal with CWD and simply let nature take its
So it is significant that many hunters and groups have supported
having this tract of land held by the state and that the land
continue to remain off limits to free-roaming deer.
The research potential for this site is unlimited, too.
We, as landowners, hunters and wildlife admirers, will continue to
disagree on how, or even if, CWD should be managed.
But it’s encouraging that when a sure-threat infection of wild deer
is evident, common sense prevails.