Chronic Wasting Disease: Coming to a County Near You?

A ten-year draft plan designed to address deer herd management in Wisconsin — with the goal of preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) —  has been released to the public by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

According to the DNR’s Web site, deer hunters across the state and nationally who believe the CWD problem is safely isolated to a small area in Wisconsin could be caught off-guard. The message from DNR: The time to re-think this threat and act is now — in order to prevent it from spreading.

“After six years, it is clear that there is no easy answer to managing this disease in Wisconsin,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank, “but we continue to believe the stakes are high and we need to do our best to try to minimize the effect of CWD in the state.”


Listen online to three messages from DNR Wildlife Chief Tom Hauge about the plan and your role as a sportsman in the process:

CWD Management Plan available [MP3: 652Kb]
Citizen help needed to limit spread of CWD [MP3: 832Kb]
CWD threatens Wisconsin’s hunting tradition [MP3: 790Kb]

Download the plan (.pdf) Here

Here’s a snapshot of the key objectives of the proposed CWD management plan:

   1. Prevent new introductions of CWD
   2. Respond to new disease outbreaks
   3. Control distribution and intensity of CWD
   4. Increase public recognition and understanding of CWD Risks
   5. Address the needs of DNR customers
   6. Enhance the scientific information about CWD

The Wisconsin DNR would like your feedback on the following action items:

•    Implementing the 2008 statewide hunting season structure and the basic season structure for all units in the CWD Management Zone through 2012.
•    Issuing landowner hunting permits in the CWD Management Zone that are valid from the close of the regular hunting season until March 31.
•    Conducting focused sharpshooting on public and private lands where permission can be obtained in areas of disease clusters along the edges of the known CWD distribution.
•    Insuring hunters have the option of having their deer tested for CWD in areas with the highest prevalence of the disease.
•    Cooperating with food pantries and meat processors in the CWD Management Zone to provide hunters options for donating deer.
•    Pursuing a statewide ban on the feeding and baiting of deer to reduce the risk of transmission of CWD or other serious cervid diseases in new areas.
•    Conducting disease surveillance surveys approximately every 5 years throughout the state, outside of the CWD Management Zone, in order to detect new disease outbreaks in a timely manner.
•    Reviewing progress toward the objectives in this plan after 5 years and making modifications based on the review.

The draft CWD management plan is available on the DNR Web site. Comments can be submitted using a form available on the Web site. Those without internet access can call the DNR at 608-264-6046 to request that a hard copy of the plan and a comment form be mailed to them. The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 13, 2008.

To learn more about CWD and Wisconsin DNR efforts to contain it since it was first discovered in 2002, Click Here.

Sound Off! After you’ve read the proposed plan, share your thoughts in our Forum!