Fight against Chronic Wasting Disease ‘At Crossroads’


Department of Natural Resources staff say the fight against Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin’s deer population is “at a crossroads.” But one DNR Board member says the fight may have been lost already, with serious consequences for the deer herd.

Governor Walker’s deer trustee is recommending a more passive approach to CWD in a key deer management zone. Next month, the DNR will hold public meetings on the consultant’s report. The DNR’s Tami Ryan says the department is hoping to hear which road to take: “One would be potentially more aggressive in the areas where there are the breakouts, versus just living with the disease.”

Ryan acknowledges the deer disease continues to spread to more counties, with no remedy in sight. But she says it’s hard to say for sure whether the disease will spread to almost all the state. DNR board member Dave Clausen, a longtime deer hunter and veterinarian expects the spread of CWD including to more parts of northwest Wisconsin where he hunts, “And it means I’m going to test every adult deer that we shoot before I feed it to my family.”

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The concern comes as the DNR pushed hard last fall to sell more deer hunting licenses.