Breaking: CWD Makes 200 Mile Leap

whitetail deer hunting newsBreaking News: CWD has made the leap from southern Wisconsin to the State’s northern forests, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Updated: Here’s the full release from the DNR:

ShellLake – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that CWD was detected in a wild adult doe found on private property just west of Shell Lake in Washburn County.

Tissue samples have been confirmed as CWD-positive at both the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. The DNR received the final test results late on Friday, March 30.    The 3 1/2-year old doe was euthanized by the Washburn County Sherriff’s Office on a small parcel of private land.

In order to find out if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, this fall DNR will begin a focused disease surveillance effort within a 10-mile radius around the positive location.  “The fall archery and gun deer hunting seasons provide an excellent, cost-effective method to collect valuable samples,” said Kurt Thiede, Land Administrator for DNR.

This is the first wild CWD-positive deer to found in northern Wisconsin and within the Ceded Territory where the Ojibwe Tribes maintain harvest and gathering rights.

“No changes are anticipated this fall in the broad framework of the hunting seasons,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “We are reviewing today’s news with our wildlife experts and are reaching out to notify the DNR Board, tribal representatives, the DATCP and the MN DNR. In addition, we have relayed this information to Dr. Kroll.”

Under state statutes, the DNR is required to enact a ban on the feeding and baiting of deer in any county that is within 10 miles of any captive or free-roaming deer that tests positive for either CWD or Tb. This CWD-positive deer is within Washburn County and may be within 10 miles of Barron, Burnett and Polk Counties. We anticipate the ban on baiting and feeding within these counties to take effect this fall.

Thiede noted, “The location of this deer was more than 100 miles from the nearest known cases of the disease in either wild or captive deer.  Our field staff will be working with local citizens, registration stations, processors and taxidermists to collect tissue samples to learn if any other sick deer exist near this case.”

In addition, the DNR will begin to implement other steps, such as collecting adult road kill deer to gather additional samples.

CWD is a nervous system disease of deer, moose, and elk. 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. Current information suggests that CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal to animal contact and indirectly from a CWD-prion contaminated environment. Recent studies indicate that CWD prions exist in the saliva, urine, and feces of infected deer.
To learn more about CWD, please visit our web site at and enter the search key word CWD.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune had posted a story that details the discovery of the disease in an adult doe near Shell Lake.

MADISON, Wis. – Chronic wasting disease, long contained to the southern half of the state, has leapt into northwestern Wisconsin, state wildlife officials announced Monday.

Department of Natural Resources Lands Division Administrator Kurt Thiede said test results the agency received from the National Veterinary Services lab in Ames, Iowa, on Friday evening confirmed a three-and-a-half-year-old doe found just outside Shell Lake was infected.

Thiede had few details on how the deer was discovered. He said someone reported a sick deer to the Washburn County Sheriff’s Department on opening day of the state’s gun hunt in November 2011. DNR field staff submitted samples from the deer to agency officials in Madison in late February. Tests performed at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in early March came back positive for the disease, but the agency wanted confirmation from Ames.

Thiede said the agency likely will ask hunters in northwestern Wisconsin to submit samples from deer they kill this fall for testing and could enact a baiting and feeding ban in the area around where the doe was found.

Deer & Deer Hunting will have more on this story as it develops.