DNR Survey Finds No Deer With CWD


An aerial survey of Wisconsin’s newest Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) zone in far northern Wisconsin has some good news, and some news that concerns the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The survey, at 250 feet high and 100 miles per hour over the Shell Lake area of Washburn County, would not be able to spot a sick deer. But CWD wildlife biologist Mark Rasmussen says they did spot concentrations of deer within one mile of where a dead CWD deer was found a year and a half ago:

“Over areas that we thought it would be much more likely of deer being able to transmit CWD to one another. Obviously, the more concentrated the deer are in a small area, if there’s one CWD-positive deer found in that concentration, then it’s likely that at some point that the other deer would come into contact with that.

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The news is hardly great, but after sampling more than 1,000 deer shot last fall in that area – and from what they could see in their two aerial surveys over 36 square miles in February – Rasmussen says they have not found any more diseased deer: “It is extremely likely that when we detected CWD, we detected it very early. And so there’s a very low prevalence rate of CWD in the area.”

Four hundred sixty-five deer were spotted. They figure there are twice as many in that area.

Testing for CWD will continue in Washburn and surrounding counties during the fall hunting season.

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