Hunters urged to have their deer tested for CWD

(Robert F. Bukaty | AP)
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Wisconsin tradition returns on Saturday with the opening of archery and crossbow season, and deer hunters in Northeast Wisconsin are being asked to do their part to help monitor the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Over the last two years, CWD has surfaced in Northeast Wisconsin with a wild deer testing positive in Sheboygan, Shawano and Green Lake counties and two deer in Marquette County.

“So that southwest corner of our region is really where we’re seeing what was probably the creep from the extensive area in the state that we know it exists in the wild. These others are more what we would describe as a spark, the origin unknown, but we want to focus on those areas to put that spark out,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist.

This fall marks the second year that the state’s CWD sampling efforts are focused on Northeast Wisconsin. Pritzl says the goal is to have at least 300 deer tested per county.

“It gives us a statistical sample that says we’ve got 95-percent confidence that if the disease was here at a one percent level, we’d find it,” explains Pritzl.

For a deer to be tested, which is free, hunters must save the head with at least 5 inches of the neck attached.

“The easiest way to do it is to find our self-service kiosks that are scattered throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Those locations are available on the website, and then it can be done at the hunter’s schedule and their time and convenience,” says Pritzl.

As for the early season outlook, Pritzl says a number of factors look favorable.

“I think all the arrows this year are pointing towards some increased opportunities early on. Oour deer population estimates are a little higher than they were last year, and agriculture schedule practice with harvesting, whether it’s hay, soy beans, corn, that stuff is all on schedule, so hunters can plan around that accordingly,” says Pritzl.

Hunters are reminded to check the regulations for the county they plan to hunt in, as they can vary with regards to baiting and feeding restrictions and harvest opportunities.

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