Third CWD Eradication Shooting Underway

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The third week-long shooting period for white-tailed deer by permitted landowners or their proxies began Saturday, Aug. 10, and runs through Friday, Aug. 16 within the 374-square mile chronic wasting disease (CWD) Eradication Zone.

Brain and lymph tissue samples will be taken from collected deer for laboratory analysis. No date has been set for results.

Landowners and Department of Natural Resources shooters collected 601 deer during the first two shooting periods in June and July. The final summer shooting period is slated for Sept. 7-13.

All deer will be shot under the authority of a deer removal permit and the more deer taken will continue to "widen our CWD sampling base and provide us with more data on the disease?s prevalence and enables university researchers to work on validating more (CWD) sampling methods," noted DNR wildlife biologist Al Crossley, Fitchburg.

"Wildlife personnel from around the state will help us process deer during the remaining shooting periods and working at deer collection stations will serve as training exercises for those people who will be setting up sampling stations back in their home counties this fall," Crossley noted.

DNR is committed to conducting CWD tests on up to 50,000 deer harvested by hunters this fall to determine exactly where the disease exists in Wisconsin. This ambitious sampling plan, which will include sampling all deer from the CWD Intensive Management Zone, 500 deer from each deer management unit associated with the CWD Management Zone, and 500 deer from most every county outside the CWD management Zone, will take place mainly during the Oct. 24-27 Zone T hunt and during the opening weekend (Nov. 23-24) of the nine-day gun deer season.

DNR's long-term goal is to reduce deer numbers to as close to zero as possible in the Eradication Zone via landowner shooting permits in combination with government shooters.

To date, about 1100 permits have been issued for the summer shooting periods and another 300 landowners indicated their willingness to allow government shooters on their property to collect deer.

"We are extremely grateful to all those landowners who have requested permits to help us shoot deer or are willing to allow government shooters to harvest deer. We also thank the property owners in the CWD Eradication Zone, along with local government officials, for being supportive and understanding of our aggressive approach to halting this disease here in southwest Wisconsin," Crossley added.

DNR staff are still working to get deer removal permits out to all Eradication Zone landowners requesting them. Landowners interested in receiving a permit may obtain more information by calling 608-935-1945.

Biologists opted for having one week of shooting periods during each summer month so as to allow deer to resume normal patterns, reduce the impact on landowners' summer activities, and provide for a greater degree of personal comfort, knowing when shooting will occur.

The permit holder and their agents do not need a deer hunting license to participate in these one-week summer hunts, but do need to meet the legal, age and hunter safety requirements for obtaining a deer hunting license in Wisconsin. They must also wear blaze orange while hunting.

The CWD Eradication Zone encompasses western Dane-eastern Iowa Counties and a small portion of southern Sauk County.

Rifles will be allowed in the Dane County portion of the Eradication Zone "although its clearly a landowner option. Rifles are more effective and we feel using them during seven-day periods is the best option to maximize efficiency in killing deer," Crossley explained.

He emphasized that landowners who are allowing others to kill deer on their properties to make sure these shooters know the property boundaries and the locations of buildings, roads and residences not only on their land, but neighboring properties as well.

The heads of all deer will be collected by DNR staff for tissue sampling. It is the agency's intent to test all tissue samples from deer kept for human consumption, subject to lab capacity and tissue sample quality.

"All deer should be transported as soon as possible to a CWD collection site to ensure a useable tissue sample," Crossley pointed out.

CWD collection stations are located two miles north of Barneveld off County Highway T at the Trout Creek Fishery Area and three miles north of Mazomanie off County Highway Y near the dog trial grounds.

After tagging a deer with a permit tag and surrendering the head to DNR for disease testing, the permit holder or agent may keep the carcass or give it to another for consumption. Landowners or their proxies are encouraged to keep deer in the Eradication Zone to help prevent spreading of CWD elsewhere.

All unused parts from the deer carcass (other than the entrails) should be disposed of at one of the DNR collection stations. During the summer shooting periods, unwanted carcasses brought to the collection stations will be frozen on site for later transport to an incinerator.

DNR shooters will assist landowners in removing deer from their property "subject to staffing availability," according to Crossley.

The last time deer shooting was allowed throughout Wisconsin in August was 1876, when the hunting season ran from Aug. 15 to Dec. 15. A fall hunting framework was first set up in 1882, when the season ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 in 68 counties.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Alan Crossley, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg - (608) 275-3242 or Greg Matthews, regional public affairs manager, Fitchburg - (608) 275-3317