Escaped Deer, Possibly with CWD, Has Conservation Officials Scrambling

Wildlife officials are scrambling to locate deer that escaped from a fenced captive deer facility after tests showed positive results for chronic wasting disease in deer inside the farm.

Chronic Wasting Disease is always fatal and is found in two dozen states and Canadian provinces. (Photo: Wisconsin DNR)

Chronic Wasting Disease is always fatal and is found in two dozen states and Canadian provinces. (Photo: Wisconsin DNR)

Wisconsin DNR officials are asking residents in two communities to report any sightings of the ear-tagged deer and their location. CWD was detected in June after tests on the deer, but in May a tree fell on the fence around the farm and several deer escaped.

DNR wildlife biologist Bill Hogseth said all but two bucks have been recaptured.

“From the DNR’s perspective we view those two bucks that are still at large as a health risk to the wild deer herd in that area due to the new occurrence of CWD on that farm,” Hogseth said in this report. “We would like to have these deer captured as soon as possible. The sooner that they’re off the landscape the better.”

Here is the press release from Wisconsin DNR:

The state Department of Natural Resources is requesting the help of residents of Fairchild and Augusta and the surrounding areas to be on the lookout for two escaped ear-tagged captive white-tailed deer from a local captive deer facility.

On June 24 the Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection announced a captive white-tailed deer from a breeding farm in Eau Claire County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

In early May, the farm owner reported that multiple captive bucks escaped the facility when a tree fell on the fence causing a breach. Most of the escaped bucks were recovered with two still remaining out on the landscape.

“We need landowners and the public to be on the lookout for any deer that appear to have an ear tag. These captive escapes are a potential health risk to the local wild deer herd and should be removed from the landscape,” said DNR wildlife biologist Bill Hogseth.

Landowners are asked to check trail camera images for any ear-tagged deer. The DNR would like to be notified if you record any images of ear-tagged deer or if you observe any. While yellow plastic ear-tags like the one pictured are most common and likely to be on these two bucks, please report any deer tagged with any size, shape or color of ear-tag.

If it is after hours, or a biologist isn’t available please contact the department’s hotline at 1-800-847-9367. The information will be forwarded to the local conservation warden.

Ban on Feeding to Take Effect

A ban on baiting deer for hunting and feeding deer for recreational viewing or other purposes in Eau Claire, Jackson and Clark counties will take effect Aug. 1 due to the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a captive white-tailed deer on private land in Eau Claire County.

Eau Claire, Jackson and Clark counties are within a 10-mile radius of the Eau Claire County property on which a CWD-positive deer was found. State law requires that counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a game farm or free-ranging CWD-positive are included in the baiting and feeding prohibition. As of Aug. 1, baiting and feeding of deer will be prohibited in 38 Wisconsin counties.

Individuals can still feed birds and small mammals, provided the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “bait” and “CWD” respectively.

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