CWD Response Plan

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Wisconsin DNR 

announces updated 

CWD Response Plan

By Ted Pennekamp


The Wisconsin DNR has recently announced its updated Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response Plan. 

Crawford, Vernon and Grant County residents may also be interested to know what the current status of their counties are regarding CWD. 

“Unfortunately CWD is present in Crawford, Grant, and Vernon counties,” said DNR biologist Dave Matheys, who noted that there are more positives in Grant (29) than either Crawford (4) or Vernon (3).

Matheys said the first wild detection in Crawford County occurred in 2015. In Vernon County, the first detection was in 2017 and in Grant County it was in 2012.

“All three counties are CWD affected counties with baiting and feeding bans in place, as well as carcass restrictions,” said Matheys. 

Hunters who would like to report suspect/sick deer should contact their local wildlife biologist (Matheys for Vernon and Crawford counties, and Dan Goltz for Grant and Richland counties) or the DNR info line at 888-936-7463 (7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week).

In 2016, the Bluff View Intermediate School Technical Education department, along with the school’s “Into the Outdoors” program provided a service to Crawford and Grant County deer hunters by building a CWD testing kiosk where hunters can drop off deer heads. The drop-off kiosk was placed in front of NCS Gunsmithing, Sales and Indoor Archery at 815 E. Campion Boulevard in Prairie du Chien.

CWD Response Plan

Increased surveillance, increased sampling, carcass movement restrictions and local community involvement are just some the goals outlined in the recently updated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources CWD Response Plan.

The updated plan, the result of a collaborative effort between the DNR, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and key stakeholders, will be the guide for CWD response and management over the next five years. Implementation of the plan as part of Governor Scott Walker’s Chronic Wasting Disease Initiative has already begun.

Among the key points in the plan is the work of County Deer Advisory Councils and local communities. The citizen based CDACs set the deer population goals for their counties, which is an important factor in those counties where CWD has been detected.

“We can’t emphasize enough the importance of the work carried out by the County Deer Advisory Councils, hunters and citizens,” said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. “They know more about the deer herd in their counties than anyone and their contribution is a valuable tool in addressing CWD.”

When a detection is found in a new area, the DNR in collaboration with the CDAC and local landowners will launch a rapid response Citizen Advisory Team to determine the extent of CWD, share the information widely, and collectively determine the appropriate response.

Team members will host citizen-based informational meetings in several locations in the county. They will go “door-to-door” visiting landowners within a two-mile radius of the positive detection to help develop and promote voluntary landowner surveillance testing permits, encourage the reporting of “sick deer” at the local level, and educate landowners on the current feeding and baiting regulations.

This approach was first used after the 2011 CWD discovery in Washburn County where there hasn’t been a positive CWD detection since. The same idea is now being deployed in Lincoln County where their first case of CWD was announced in January.

Hunters play a vital role in tracking and managing the disease. The updated plan calls for making more CWD sampling opportunities available to hunters through sampling kiosks around the state and making more hunters aware of self-sampling testing kits. The department will continue to encourage hunters to get their harvested deer tested, not only for their own piece of mind, but to help track the disease.

Realizing that deer carcass movement around the state and carcass disposal practices may play a role in the spread of CWD, there will be increased efforts to make hunters aware of the risks of moving carcasses from CWD positive counties to other counties where CWD has not been reported. Proper carcass disposal will also be stressed. New information on proper disposal can be found on the DNR website,, by searching for “deer carcass disposal sites.”

DATCP, which has authority over deer farms, is working closely with stakeholders to address bio-security measures through rule language that will result in enhanced fencing requirements at game farms where a CWD positive has been found.

There is no single solution to eradicating CWD but it will take a collaborative effort of state agencies, Conservation Congress, CDACs, hunters and the public to better manage it.

Find out more about this updated CWD Response Plan by going to the DNR website,, and search keywords “CWD Response Plan.”

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