Comments on WDNR Chronic Wasting Disease Guidance on Responding to New Detections in Wild Deer – October 2019

Tom Hauge and Diane DaultonWI Green Fire, December 14, 2019

Photo courtesy of Jeff Richter
Photo courtesy of Jeff Richter

Wisconsin has a proud tradition of hunting, especially for white-tailed deer. Wisconsin DNR is responsible for managing deer populations across the state. The appearance of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) threatens both herd health and the hunting tradition as we know it.

While the area of Wisconsin where CWD is considered endemic is growing, most of our state is still considered CWD-free based upon existing surveillance. Residents of these CWD-free areas and those residents that hunt deer there want them to remain CWD-free. Wisconsin’s Green Fire believes Wisconsin’s primary management objectives should be those that give the best chance to eradicate new outbreaks of the disease and stop or limit its spread.  Towards that end, our wildlife experts were pleased to provide an opportunity to review DNR’s proposed guidance document entitled, “Chronic Wasting Disease – Responding to Wild Deer Detections in New Locations” (Document ID: WM-19-0010-D).

Wisconsin’s Green Fire Wildlife Work Group offered feedback on the draft document on October 28th, 2019 as synopsized below:

  • WDNR needs to prioritize CWD-free areas in order to manage the spread of CWD and broaden the response guidance to include new detections in both captive deer and elk farms as well as wild deer.
  • We also recommended an immediate assessment of existing CWD detections and their inclusion as “new foci” that would trigger protocols outlined in the guidance followed by the question, will Wisconsin undertake proactive efforts to prevent or slow the northward progression of the disease?
  • Finally, WI Green Fire suggested that CWD sampling goals should be sufficient to not only meet disease assessment needs, but should also meet the needs of hunters wishing to have their deer tested for CWD (this could require higher sampling goals).

Download a pdf  of Wisconsin’s Green Fire comments.

Tom Hauge and Adrian Wydeven are co-chairs of the Wildlife Work Group, which prepared the comments. Diane Daulton is on the communications team.

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