CWD found in Portage, Juneau counties
MADISON Two deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, one each in Portage and Juneau Counties, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. These are the first positives in wild deer populations for both counties.
“Any CWD positive in a new county is noteworthy, but neither of these positives was completely unexpected,” said Kris Belling, DNR regional wildlife program manager. “We’ve been performing surveillance in Juneau County due to the proximity of the CWD management zone boundary and we’ve been sampling in Portage County for 10 years after positives were discovered on a former game farm.”
The two CWD-positive deer—a year-old doe and a 4- to 5-year-old buck—were shot by hunters on Nov. 18 and sampled by DNR staff.
The DNR has conducted annual surveillance in Portage County since 2002, when CWD was found in a deer herd on a captive game farm there. The disease was confirmed in a second captive herd in 2008. Since 2002, 1,506 wild deer have been tested.
Juneau County was part of DNR’s “weighted” surveillance strategy, focusing on older bucks because they have a higher probability of being infected with disease. The weighted approach increases the likelihood of early detection in areas just outside the CWD management zone.
“We thank all hunters who have brought deer in for voluntary CWD testing,” Belling said. “This cooperation is essential for detecting and tracking the prevalence of this disease.”
Sampling of deer in Juneau and Portage Counties is voluntary and will continue through the end of the late archery hunt, Jan. 6. Juneau County area bow hunters interested in having their deer sampled are encouraged to contact Jon Robaidek, local DNR biologist at 608-339-4819. Portage County area bow hunters can contact the Mead Wildlife Area office for more information on having their deer sampled, 715-457-6771.
Belling said it was too soon to draw any conclusions from the two deer.