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DNR Taking No Chances On Diseases With Kentucky Elk

Some Wisconsin Game Farmers Still Have Concerns

About 150 elk from Kentucky, like those seen here, are headed to Wisconsin over the next three to five years. | Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is set to bring more elk into the state from Kentucky over the next few years, and officials said the agency is taking tough precautions to make sure the elk don’t bring diseases with them.

But central Wisconsin game farm owner Ray Stauner isn’t convinced by those assurances. Stauner co-owns the Pittsview Farm Elk, near an area where some of the Kentucky elk will be acclimated.

“They do not have a live test for chronic wasting disease,” said Stauner. “My concern is, they’re going to bring them here, hold some of them here, one gets sick, I would probably get quarantined because I’m within 10 miles.”

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Kevin Wallenfang, a big game ecologist with the DNR, maintained that the agency is doing everything it can to minimize the risk.

“We are testing animals for a variety of diseases, especially the big ones,” said Wallenfang. “As far as chronic wasting disease goes, we are reducing the risk of that possibility as much as we possibly can, by going to a state that has never had a case of chronic wasting disease.”

State officials plan to bring in about 150 elk from Kentucky in the next three to five years.