dean hall/lakeland times
To monitor the spread of chronic wasting disease in the county deer herd, the Wisconsin DNR is issuing CWD surveillance tags in parts of Oneida County where CWD has been detected.
9/21/2019 7:30:00 AM DNR to issue CWD
surveillance tags in Oneida County
Jacob Friede Of the Lakeland Times
The archery deer season has begun and in an effort to monitor the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which has been found in the wild deer herd and on a game farm in Oneida County, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking to obtain as many samples as possible from harvested deer.
To help achieve this goal the DNR is issuing CWD surveillance tags in parts of Oneida County where CWD has been previously detected. With these tags, which can be used in the archery or gun deer seasons, a hunter can harvest either a buck or doe, though with a surveillance tag it is mandatory that the deer be brought in for testing.
Hunters can fill a surveillance tag even if they have already harvested a deer with a traditional tag.
There are two focus areas where these surveillance tags are being issued.
One focus area surrounds a game farm near Three Lakes, in eastern Oneida County, in which 13 deer have tested positive for CWD.
The other focus area surrounds the town of Crescent, just across the Lincoln County border in southern Oneida County, where two wild deer have tested positive for CWD.
"What we'd really like to get is 450 samples in each sample block so that we can say with 99 percent confidence that we're able to detect the disease at any level," Oneida County DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz said. "In order to do that we're making tags available for people to use to harvest an adult deer."
CWD, which is a contagious neurological disease in deer caused by an abnormal protein called a prion, cannot be detected in fawns so only adult deer can be harvested with surveillance tags.
In the Three Lakes sampling block, which is primarily private land, only private landowners will be issued surveillance tags. There is no limit as to the amount of landowners that can participate. The amount of tags made available to each landowner will be based on acreage of land hunted.
"In that Three Lakes block, because it's not out in the wild up there and it's a surveillance effort, private landowners that are in that block can contact us and we'll issue them tags," Holtz said.
However, in the Crescent block, where two wild deer tested positive for CWD, as did an additional wild deer just across the border in Lincoln county, tags will be made available for both public and private land.
"The other sample block is a little bit different," Holtz said. "Because it's in the wild and because there's way more public land in that block we are making tags available that people can contact us and we can issue them on state and county land. So they can call us and we can issue them tags to hunt on the Oneida County forest, Langlade County forest, Lincoln County forest, and state properties inside that block."
Holtz said there is a minimum of 150 CWD surveillance tags available for Oneida County public land within the Crescent sampling block.
In addition to the surveillance tags which require mandatory testing, the DNR is encouraging all hunters, regardless of where they hunt, to voluntarily have their deer tested.
"You can go to the DNR website and search for locations of sampling kiosks," Holtz said. "Those are spots where you can drop the deer head off and then you just fill out a little bit of paperwork, drop off the head, and we do the rest. If you want to keep the antlers you can, we don't sample the antlers."
Hunters who want to do a full head mount can contact the DNR and they'll arrange to extract lymph nodes so the head can be kept for cleaning and mounting. The lymph nodes, which are the parts of the deer that are tested, are found within the lower jaw of the deer.
Sampling kiosks are located at the DNR offices in Woodruff, Rhinelander, and Eagle River as well as at a number of other area business locations.
Last year, despite a similar surveillance effort, most of the samples collected by the DNR were voluntary.
"Last year we went through this similar effort and we issued hundreds of tags in those two blocks, but only 30 percent of our samples came from those free tags." Holtz said. "The other 70 percent of our samples came from concerned hunters."
Those interested in CWD surveillance tags must contact the wildlife biologist in their area. Surveillance tags cannot be obtained from the DNR website or through DNR customer service.
"They've got to call the DNR wildlife biologist because we're the ones that have gotten the permission to issue those tags," Holtz said.
In Oneida County, CWD surveillance tags can be issued by Holtz, who can be reached at 715-365-8999 or at Jeremy.firstname.lastname@example.org. Wildlife biologist Jaqi Christopher can also issue CWD surveillance tags and she can be reached at 715-401-2871 or at Jacquelyn.Christopher@wisconsin.gov.
For more information about CWD surveillance, including maps of the focus areas and locations of in-person and self-serve sampling locations visit dnr.wi.gov and keyword search "CWD sampling".
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce