No wasting disease found in northern WisconsinNo new cases of chronic wasting disease have been found from last year’s deer hunt in far northern Wisconsin, but it doesn’t mean the threat is over.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
No new cases of chronic wasting disease have been found from last year’s deer hunt in far northern Wisconsin, but it doesn’t mean the threat is over.
One diseased deer was found in the Shell Lake area of Washburn County during the 2011 hunting season. So last May, the DNR ordered a feeding and baiting ban in Washburn County and in surrounding Barron, Burnett, and Polk Counties.
DNR Warden Dave Zebro says it remains a mystery as to how CWD jumped 150 miles from the southern zone to the north. But he says they’ve finished testing more than 1000 deer from last year’s hunt in the new area and none had the disease.
“It could tell us a lot of things,” he said. “It could tell us our prevalence rate is extremely low. Maybe it’s telling us that ‘Hey, that’s the only one that you had’ or it could say ‘Hey, you tested 1000 deer but the deer that you tested didn’t have it but there’s more deer on the landscape.' That’s why the Department is going to keep testing.”
So Zebro says the baiting and feeding ban in the four northern counties won’t be removed anytime soon. He says they can’t.
“There is no legal mechanism for the department or legislature to remove that baiting and feeding ban,” he said. “It would take a new piece of legislation to allow the baiting and feeding to again continue in those four counties. So right now it’s a permanent ban.”
Zebro says he’s not sure what length of time or criteria is needed before a CWD zone is declared free of the disease.