There were 1,060 white-tailed deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin during the 2018 surveillance year, which ran from April 1 through March 31. This compares to 597 that tested positive during the 2017 surveillance year; however state wildlife health officials say the number of deer tested in 2018 was double that of 2017.
More than 17,200 deer were sampled and tested for CWD statewide in 2018, compared to 9,841 in 2017. Most of the positive detections were within the endemic area in southern Wisconsin, but a new positive was detected in Marquette County. In addition, there were positive detections in counties already affected with CWD, including Eau Claire, Lincoln, Portage, Adams, Juneau, Vernon, Crawford and Dodge counties.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has monitored trends in CWD distribution and prevalence within Wisconsin since its discovery in 2002. To date, more than 227,000 deer have been sampled for CWD statewide with over 5,200 testing positive.
In the Northern Forest Zone, 2,354 deer were sampled with only one testing positive in Oneida County. The Central Farmland Zone had nine positives out of 5,489 samples; the Central Forest Zone had 11 positives out of 639 samples. In the Southern Farmland Zone, 8,751 deer were sampled; 1,039 tested positive for CWD.
There are currently 56 CWD-affected counties due to wild and captive CWD positive detections. During the 2018 calendar year, Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Fond du Lac, Marinette, Florence, Lincoln and Langlade counties were added as CWD-affected counties and Green Lake County was added as CWD-affected on March 1.
In 2018, statewide CWD surveillance was focused on annual areas of interest, disease assessment around recent CWD positive detections, and disease detection mainly in the west-central district across all 19 counties, as well as, continued hunter service testing, free of charge, for adult deer anywhere in the state.
State wildlife health officials say the increase in sampling is due to efforts to make it easier for hunters to submit samples.
Baiting and feeding
New baiting and feeding bans were initiated on Feb. 1 for Waushara, Wood, Racine and Kenosha counties.
The ban was lifted for Marquette County in December and added back March 1.
Green Lake County was also added to the ban March 1. Hunters and landowners should check the DNR baiting and feeding webpage frequently for updates, as new baiting and feeding bans may be enacted in 2019 with new CWD detections.
Landowners and hunters should contact their local wildlife biologist to determine if baiting and feeding ban end dates have changed within individual counties, based on CWD test results.
None of the counties currently identified statewide will be removed from the baiting and feeding ban in 2019. Additional information on baiting and feeding will be provided in advance of the 2019 deer hunting season.
Prevent the spread of CWD
There are recommended practices to reduce and prevent the spread of CWD that hunters, landowners, and any individual can assist with. Some of these actions include proper transportation, handling and disposal of deer carcass waste; reporting sick deer; following baiting and feeding information; cleaning/decontamination of equipment; and hunters can follow urine-based scent recommendations.
For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations, ways to reduce the spread and overall CWD information in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "bait and feeding" and "CWD" respectively.
To report a sick deer on the landscape, search keywords "sick deer" or contact a local wildlife biologist.