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DNR confirms CWD detected in deer in Washington County | By Bret Owsley

December 15, 2020 – Town of Polk, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Polk in northeastern Washington County, within 10 miles of Ozaukee County.

Mitch Knox and deer, CWD

As required by state law, the DNR will enact a new two-year ban on baiting and feeding in Ozaukee County effective Jan. 5, 2021 and renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Washington County.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult buck harvested during the 2020 archery deer season that was tested as part of the department’s disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Washington County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD.

Baiting and feeding were already banned in Washington County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised deer facility.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is important for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state. As ever, successful CWD management depends in part on citizen involvement in the decision-making process through local County Deer Advisory Councils.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family – both wild and captive. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state’s wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin is available here. Information on how to have deer tested during the 2020-21 hunting seasons is available here.

Bret Owsley, DNR Southern District Wildlife Supervisor

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