MADISON, Wis. - With the archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons underway, the Department of Natural Resources recommends simple precautions hunters and landowners can take to help prevent and reduce the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

CWD transmission occurs when infected animals shed prions through saliva, urine, feces, and natural decomposition after death. CWD can be spread both through direct (deer to deer) and indirect (deer to the contaminated environment) contact.

Precautions are particularly important for areas where CWD has not yet been detected. Hunters are asked to consider taking proactive measures to reduce the risks of disease transmission in Wisconsin's deer herd by following these voluntary recommendations:

  • Prevent unnatural concentrations of deer.
  • Reduce the amount of urine-based scent in the environment by using synthetic scents.
  • Avoid transporting whole wild deer carcasses or any deer brain, spinal cord, spleen or lymph tissue to areas outside the county or adjacent county in which the deer was harvested.
  • Use designated or disposable equipment to process deer and minimize contact with the brain, spinal cord, spleen, and lymph nodes.
  • Soak all appropriate processing equipment and surfaces in a 50:50 bleach to water solution for at least one hour before rinsing with clean water.
  • Dispose of deer carcass waste, including all bones and butcher waste, appropriately.

CWD is a risk to Wisconsin's deer population and strong hunting culture as the disease continues to spread and prevalence rates increase. Without efforts to control the spread of CWD now, it has the potential to be damaging to not only our deer herd but also the social and economic stability of many communities in Wisconsin.

"The infectious nature of CWD contributes to an increased risk of introduction and spread of the disease," said Tami Ryan, DNR's acting director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. "We must all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease."

CWD is a fatal contagious neurological disease of deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou that is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions cause brain degeneration in infected animals and lead to extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior, and loss of bodily functions.

For more information, visit the DNR website for Recommendations for Reducing the Spread of CWD.


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