DNR to discuss CWD Jan. 18 in Allamakee County, following additional positive tests

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has scheduled two public meetings to discuss the status of the deer herd in Allamakee County after additional hunter harvested deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the 2016 deer season. 

Meetings are scheduled at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Harpers Ferry Community Center, 238 N. Fourth St., then at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Waukon Banquet Center, 612 Rossville Rd.

After the initial CWD positive deer was found in Allamakee County in 2013, the DNR, with the help of cooperative hunters, increased its surveillance in a five-mile radius around where the deer was harvested to help determine the extent of the disease. In February 2015, the DNR conducted a special collecting effort using hunters to obtain additional samples. A collecting effort option is again being discussed for January 2017, pending current deer sample test results. 

Dr. Dale Garner, chief of wildlife for the Iowa DNR, will present information concerning recent test results, discuss available options and seek public input during the meetings.

“We’ve learned from other states that we need to move strategically, but fairly quickly, to slow the spread of CWD,” Garner said. 

CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases. It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.

The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff sets an annual goal of collecting 4,500 samples. Since testing began in 2002, more than 60,000 tissue samples have been collected and tested, looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd. The effort has focused on portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Wisconsin and Illinois, and in south-central Iowa near Missouri, where CWD has been detected. Additional testing has been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo and Davis Counties, following positive tests from captive facilities. The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.

Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD at www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/DeerHunting/CWDEHDInformation.aspx.

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