New, cooperative effort to control CWD

(WBAY file photo)
(WBAY file photo)(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 3, 2019 at 5:42 PM CDT
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With the start of archery season less than two weeks away, new, cooperative efforts are announced to deal with and control chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin's deer herd.

First detected on the landscape in 2002 in southwestern Wisconsin, CWD has now spread in the wild to 26 counties, although none in Northeast Wisconsin.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, one of the keys to managing CWD is partnerships.

"As we've looked across the region and worked with folks across a number of states, it continues to be really, really important that we are working very closely with our citizen advisers at Wisconsin Conservation Congress and certainly with and through our policy-making citizen board, the Natural Resources Board," DNR Assistant Deputy Secretary Todd Ambs said.

In Madison on Tuesday, the Conservation Congress announced three recommendations to the DNR in fighting CWD: increased education, increased deer carcass disposal options, and an expansion of CWD testing.

"People want to do the right thing, but they aren't sure how to do it," Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair Larry Bonde said. "The one thing the committee really felt strongly about is, we cannot regulate ourselves out of CWD, so we've got to be very careful not to make rules and laws that put people who are trying to do the right thing in violation."

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board member Greg Kazmierski agreed, "The public is very important if we're going to succeed in any management strategy. Without those hunters, we can't succeed."

The Natural Resources Board says while an incredible amount of research is going on nationwide, it is still unknown exactly how CWD is transmitted in the wild and more education and testing is crucial to slowing the spread.

"We can only get ahead of this disease if we get the public involved in doing these best management practices," Kazmierski said, "so the days of leaving the carcass in a ditch after you've butchered your deer or putting it out for coyote bait is the potential of spreading prions on the landscape."

This fall, the DNR is hoping to test 21,000 deer for CWD, the most in 15 years.

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