The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ 2020 surveillance of Iowa’s wild deer herd for the presence of chronic wasting disease has yielded 21 new positive deer, and has added two new counties to the list where positive deer have been found.
The new positive deer were all from either an existing chronic wasting disease zone or adjacent to an existing zone. Two new counties were added to list where deer have tested positive. Jackson County had a positive deer that was taken just south of the existing Dubuque disease management zone, and Appanoose County had a positive deer taken just northeast of the existing Corydon disease management zone.
“Although we expect some spread just outside of our existing zones, it’s not what we like to see,” said Tyler Harms, deer program leader for the Iowa DNR. “We will reassess the boundaries of our existing zones to encompass these new positives.”
The Iowa DNR has a map online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting/Deer-Disease-Information showing where the positive deer have been taken. To date, 111 wild Iowa deer have tested positive for the disease since 2013 when it was first discovered in the state.
“We rely heavily on our hunters to help us respond to this disease by increasing antlerless harvest in our disease management zones,” Harms said. “We know increased harvest is the best way to slow the spread and it helps increase sampling in these zones so we can monitor disease prevalence and spread. We continue to encourage hunters to harvest additional antlerless deer in these disease management zones.”
The 2020 sampling year ends March 31 and while most of the deer samples are collected during the hunting seasons, the DNR does collect samples from road killed deer and suspected sick deer near the deer disease management zones annually beginning April 1.