Responding to CWD in Sheboygan County

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 3:17 PM CST
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Conservation clubs and hunters in and around Sheboygan County are reacting to the first wild deer in Northeast Wisconsin to test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

As we first told you last Friday, an adult doe harvested during the archery season just outside Plymouth tested positive for CWD.

Now, a call for hunters in that area to harvest more deer before the end of January for further testing.

The level of surprise over the discovery is varied, even among conservation leaders.

"I don't think a lot of people were surprised, I think they've expected someday we'd see this and just didn't know it was going to be today," says Ed Harvey, chairman of Sheboygan County's Deer Advisory Council.

"I do most of my hunting around here and I just thought we were safe here," says Larry Bonde, Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chairman, and chair of Manitowoc County's Deer Advisory Council.

Bonde anticipates a united front moving forward in efforts to better understand the potential impact of the disease.

"The good thing is we have a good cooperation with the conservation organizations in Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties and we need to get as many deer tested as possible, and that's the key thing," says Bonde.

With the upcoming Holiday hunt in Sheboygan county, and late season archery, there's plenty of opportunity for hunters to help the DNR better gauge whether the CWD detection is an isolated incident or more prevalent in the county.

"Go out and hunt and they're hoping if you get a deer, if you're successful in getting a deer, that you will turn the sample in. The potential for their animal to be CWD positive is there and if they're not concerned I'll bet they have family members who will be and who will want it tested," says Harvey.

Harvey says he's been told the DNR would like to sample around 200 deer from the area by the end of January.

John Bonde, who owns 10 acres just two miles from where the CWD positive deer was taken, is on board.

"Right behind the swing set behind me there's a nice travel corridor and I'll probably watch for deer later with the bow, I'm going to do my best to help out," says Bonde.

Depending on the number of deer tested in the coming weeks, the DNR may issue additional harvest tags in the Plymouth area to reach their sample goal.