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Wisconsin DNR Confirms CWD Detected In Washington County

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Polk in central Washington County, within ten miles of Ozaukee County.

As required by state law, the DNR will enact a new two-year ban on baiting and feeding in Ozaukee County effective Jan. 5, 2021 and renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Washington County.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult buck harvested during the 2020 archery deer season that was tested as part of the department’s disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Washington County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD. Baiting and feeding were already banned in Washington County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised deer facility.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is important for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state. As ever, successful CWD management depends in part on citizen involvement in the decision-making process through local County Deer Advisory Councils.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family – both wild and captive. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state’s wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.