The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Wednesday, Jan. 2, that a deer shot in the northwestern corner of Portage County during the gun-deer season in November tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), making it the first wild deer in Portage County to test positive for the fatal deer disease.
“Wildlife scientists will need to analyze this and come up with a plan to set up future monitoring,” said Ed Culhane, DNR regional communication specialist.
Culhane said this is farthest north a wild deer has tested positive for CWD since the first case was detected in the southern portion of the state in the early 2000s. Captive deer in Portage County game farms have tested positive for it, including at the Hall farm near Almond in 2002 and the Alligator Creek farm near Junction City in 2008.
He said the newly discovered case was shot near the Alligator Creek farm, and it was found in a 1-1/2-year-old doe harvested in deer management unit 57A near the Mead Wildlife Area. He said the finding does not change the remaining days of the late archery hunting season nor does it change the current CWD management zone boundary, which encompasses southern Wisconsin counties where CWD has been more common.
“Right now it’s a single deer,” Culhane said. “It clearly creates a situation in which officials will have to take a hard look at this. It also means the overall plan (for CWD) will be reviewed heavily.”
For more information on CWD in Wisconsin, and to view CWD maps, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for “CWD.”