DNR, partners announce increased efforts to address CWD in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. – Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Conservation Congress and Wisconsin Natural Resources Board today announced new cooperative efforts on steps to control and deal with chronic wasting disease among white-tailed deer in Wisconsin.
“We are unified in our interests in responding to and managing CWD,” said Assistant Deputy DNR Secretary Todd Ambs. “We look forward to working in collaboration and partnership to slow the spread of CWD.”
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress recommends the DNR place more emphasis on educating the public on the disease, said WCC Chairman Larry Bonde. The WCC’s CWD subcommittee recommends distribution of CWD materials to hunters and the public, and updates to the DNR website to make it easier to find information about the disease. The WCC is also asking the department to continue to make it easier for hunters to have deer tested as well as to dispose of deer carcass remains.
“We feel the DNR and partners should keep expanding the kiosk program and keep working on decreasing the turnaround time on samples,” Bonde said.
Natural Resources Board members are generally supportive of the WCC recommendations, said NRB Vice-Chair Greg Kazmierski, adding that the board will be presenting its recommendations to the DNR on CWD management at the Sept. 25, 2019 meeting in Mishicot.
The DNR is already beginning to move ahead with some of these recommendations, including efforts to expand the CWD testing kiosks and carcass disposal sites available to hunters, said Tami Ryan, acting director of the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management, said. The department is planning to expand the Adopt-a-Kiosk and Adopt-a-Dumpster program it launched in 2018 and is exploring both state and federal resources that might be used to increase these efforts even more.
“The cooperation of hunters and private businesses is vital to the success of these programs and our overall sampling efforts. DNR staff thank all those who continue to assist with CWD surveillance and deer carcass waste disposal,” Ryan said. “These programs provide an opportunity for conservation groups or individuals to assist with CWD surveillance and reduce the risk of disease spread through proper deer carcass waste disposal.”
Ryan said the department is also planning to increase educational efforts, with revised CWD materials to share with the public and updated, more accessible web pages. To make it easier for hunters to sample deer and dispose of their deer carcass waste, the department is adding CWD sampling stations and deer carcass disposal locations to the DNR’s Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app.
Disease sampling efforts are also going to increase in 2019, the second year of a statewide sweep to focus on disease detection in specific areas. While CWD testing will again be available free of charge for hunters statewide, this year the department will increase efforts to get samples in the northern district. Statewide, Ryan said, the projected goal this year is to collect 21,000 samples in 2019.
The department is also continuing to invest in advancing the science of CWD, plans on constructing a new CWD sample processing center in Poynette and is supporting research projects on composting deer carcass waste and prion persistence and infectivity.