Friday, January 27th, 2023
Friday, January 27th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Hunter kills CWD-positive deer in Wisconsin’s famed Buffalo County

Alma, Wis. — Deer hunters in Wisconsin’s Buffalo County were given a lump of coal this holiday season with news that chronic wasting disease was found in a wild deer in this notoriously deer-rich county that borders southeastern Minnesota, just across the Mississippi River.

Mark Noll, a county deer advisory committee member and Conservation Congress delegate for Buffalo County, confirmed he’d gotten a call Dec. 23 from Mark Rasmussen, Wisconsin DNR wildlife biologist for Buffalo County, with that information.

“Mark (Rasmussen) made calls to CDAC and congress members after what was reported to be an adult wild doe shot opening weekend (that tested) positive for CWD,” Noll said.

“The doe was shot on the first day of the season (Nov. 19) in the area between Cream and Waumandee in the south-central part of the county,” he said.

“News of the discovery is flying around the county now. It’s disappointing, but with all the deer here, we always thought there was a good chance it would be found.”

Noll said he and his family have tried to keep the deer herd in balance by
encouraging the harvest of antlerless deer over the years. Several years
ago, Noll and the Buffalo County CDAC proposed an antlerless-only deer
season prior to the hunt.

“The proposal failed, but at least we made people aware of the situation
we’re facing because so many Buffalo County hunters are trophy buck
hunters and don’t want to harvest does,” Noll said.

If similar Wisconsin DNR procedures are followed in Buffalo County after a
CWD-positive deer was found for the first time, the department will
hold a public meeting in the next few weeks to determine the next steps
to be taken.

CWD is an always-fatal contagious neurological disease that affects the nervous
system of deer, elk, moose and caribou, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
The disease can spread through contact with an infected animal’s saliva,
urine or feces. It can also spread indirectly through exposure to a
contaminated environment. CWD prions are extremely resilient, and they
can stay in the soil for a long time, making containment of an affected
area a challenge.

The disease can have an incubation period of over a year, meaning infected
deer can appear healthy for several months before showing signs of
illness. When symptoms do appear, CWD causes drastic weight loss,
drooping of the head and ears, loss of coordination, excessive
salivation and no fear of humans.

While there has never been a documented case of CWD in humans, the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend against consuming
meat from deer that test positive for the disease. Because infected deer
can look healthy, DHS encourages testing for the disease regardless of
your harvested deer’s physical condition.

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