This Deer Season, Plan Ahead To Help Monitor And Slow The Spread Of CWD

Category: article

 Nov 19th, 2021 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Nov 19th, 2021 at 11:35 AM

Hunters can help monitor and slow the spread of CWD this season. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – This deer season, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks hunters to help protect the state’s deer herd by helping to monitor and slow the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

No matter the hunting location, all hunters can have their deer tested for CWD. By having deer tested, hunters provide the DNR important data needed to understand where CWD exists on the landscape.

This year, hunters in northeast Wisconsin can help complete a multi-year statewide sweep that began in 2018. We also have active CWD sampling efforts in many other counties where CWD has already been found. Check the map on the DNR’s website to see where CWD testing is available near you.

Four Ways To Have Your Deer Tested, One Easy Online Form

Map of CWD sampling and carcass disposal locations

The DNR offers four easy ways to submit a sample:

  •  Self-service kiosks open 24/7
    This is a great option for antlerless deer or any deer that has already been skull-capped or caped out by a taxidermist. Hunters can drop off their adult deer’s head with 5 inches of neck attached for testing. Check the DNR’s CWD sampling webpage before your hunt to find a location near you.
  • In-person with cooperating meat processors, taxidermists and other businesses
    This is a great option for hunters with a deer they intend to mount. Cooperating taxidermists can collect CWD samples while working on your deer. If your taxidermist is not a cooperator, ask for the caped head back so you can drop it off at a kiosk. Meat processors/other businesses can collect the deer head for sampling later or remove the lymph nodes at the time of drop-off. Use the interactive map on the DNR’s webpage to find locations near you.
  • At-home lymph node sampling kits
    At-home sampling kits are available for those interested in collecting their own CWD sample and for hunters who are unable to stop by a kiosk or cooperator within a day or two of harvesting a deer. Hunters can extract the retropharyngeal lymph nodes using the instructions provided by the DNR and return them to the DNR for testing. Contact your local wildlife management staff to get a kit and to return the kit once samples are collected.
  • By-appointment with local DNR wildlife management staff
    This is a good option for hunters who want to have a European mount done. Simply contact a local wildlife biologist to schedule an in-person appointment.

Whichever way you submit your sample for testing, try out the DNR’s new online CWD form, which automatically fills in your contact information, license number and harvest authorization number. It also has an interactive map to mark your sampling location. You can find the link in your Go Wild harvest history after you register your deer.

The online form automatically fills in your name, contact information, customer ID number and harvest registration number and includes an interactive map to drop a pin on your harvest location.
Map of counties under baiting and feeding bans

Follow Baiting And Feeding Restrictions

While planning your hunt, be sure to check baiting and feeding restrictions in your county. Even where baiting and feeding is allowed, the DNR encourages hunters to reconsider using these practices to reduce the risk for disease transmission. Bait and feed placed on the landscape, even in limited quantities, often attracts unnatural numbers of deer and can increase the likelihood of transmission between deer.
Carcass disposal dumpster

Proper Deer Carcass Disposal Can Help Slow The Spread Of CWD

Once hunters have finished processing their harvested deer, they can safely dispose of deer carcass waste in a landfill or transfer station that accepts this waste, or in deer carcass dumpsters provided in partnership with individuals and organizations around the state. Proper carcass disposal helps slow the spread of CWD by removing potentially infected deer waste from the landscape.

What Else Can Hunters Do To Help Slow The Spread?

The DNR’s guide to slowing the spread of CWD provides additional information on this always fatal disease and provides more ways hunters can help. Check out best practices that can fit into your hunt this season.

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