Deer hunters are being asked to save deer heads or to use partnering taxidermists so they can test animals for Chronic Wasting Disease. This is especially true in certain central Wisconsin areas like Portage, Adams, and Juneau counties where Department of Natural Resources officials are trying to determine if the disease is spreading or has developed any patterns.
Last year, five CWD-positive wild deer were discovered in Central Wisconsin. Three of them were in Portage County and two in Adams County. Another CWD positive test was found on a captive deer in Marathon County last year. DNR Wildlife Supervisor Kris Johansen says Chronic Wasting Disease is going to be a rare occurrence, but there are precautions hunters need to take with the meat.
“What we tell folks is if an animal tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, The Department of Health and Family Services advises against eating that animal. It’s just better safe than sorry, so that’s the stance we take on it. If it tests positive, you’re better off not eating it.”
Johansen says the testing procedures have improved, and hunters can get the results back in a relatively short period of time…
“We’ve cut down on the amount of time it takes to get the sample processed, get it in, and get the results back, and we’re getting those back in two to three weeks now, so in most situations if folks process it and get it sampled and they put it in the freezer and they want to wait, they won’t have to wait that long to eat that good tasting venison.”
Hunters are being asked to keep the head and a small part of the neck for testing, or to take their trophy deer to a participating taxidermists where they can submit the sample to the DNR for testing.