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CWD testing lagging behind in some Northeast Wisconsin counties

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 2:59 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources say it’s only reached about one-third of its goal for the number of deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease in Northeast Wisconsin.

In the DNR’s 17-county Northeast region, there’s a goal of testing 300 deer per county for CWD between this year and next year.

That means a minimum of 5,100 deer, and so far, after the nine-day gun season, that number is around 2,000.

“Currently throughout the Northeast District, some parts of the district are looking fairly well for trying to meet our goals and some counties are really far behind,” says DNR Wildlife Biologist Joshua Martinez.

Martinez says counties that have had heightened testing in recent years due to CWD positives in captive deer -- like Marinette, Oconto, Shawano, Waupaca and Marquette -- and Sheboygan County, which had its first wild deer test positive last year -- are doing well and well on their way to the 300-deer goal.

The rest of the counties, not so much.

“There’s a little bit more knowledge on the landscape, experience on the landscape from the hunting community that CWD testing is available, and then we have other counties like Brown, Kewaunee, Calumet, Manitowoc where we have a lot lower recent time of experience with CWD sampling on the landscape, so the hunting community and just overall users of the landscape just don’t have CWD on the forefront of their brain for testing,” says Martinez.

With a four-day antlerless hunt currently underway in farmland counties, along with an upcoming holiday hunt in certain counties and the late archery season, there’s still time for hunters to help out.

“We have a pretty good chance of getting a lot more samples added right now to our overall goal for each county,” says Martinez.

Hunters are reminded the testing is free, and so far the results are good news.

“We’re looking at zero positives that have come back so far from what we’ve sent in for testing this year, so that’s impressive,” says Martinez.

Information on CWD testing can be found at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/registersample.html

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