Wisconsin DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Polk County

Baiting And Feeding Ban To Begin In December, Public Meeting Set.

Wisconsin DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Polk County

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms the first positive test result for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a wild deer in Polk County. The deer was harvested in the town of Apple River and is within 10 miles of the Barron County border.

This detection will cause the following:

  • Polk will begin a three-year baiting and feeding ban on Dec. 1, 2023.
  • Barron will renew the ban already in place.

The deer was a hunter-harvested 3-year-old doe and is the first confirmed wild deer CWD-positive detected in Polk County.

The DNR and the Polk County Deer Advisory Council will be hosting a public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. DNR staff will provide information about CWD in Wisconsin, local CWD testing efforts and disease surveillance options being considered.

State law requires that the DNR enact a three-year baiting and feeding ban in counties where CWD has been detected, as well as a two-year ban in adjoining counties within 10 miles of a CWD detection. If additional CWD cases are found during the lifetime of a baiting and feeding ban, the ban will renew for an additional two or three years.

The DNR also reminds the public that it is illegal to hunt over an area previously used for legal baiting and feeding until that area is completely free of bait or feed for 10 consecutive days.

Baiting or feeding deer encourages them to congregate unnaturally around a shared food source where infected deer can spread CWD through direct contact with healthy deer or by leaving behind infectious prions in their saliva, blood, feces and urine.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations is available on the DNR’s Baiting and Feeding webpage.

Hunters Can Help

The DNR asks deer hunters in Polk County to help with efforts to identify where CWD occurs on the landscape by having their deer tested for the disease. The collection of CWD samples is essential for assessing the presence of CWD in the deer population across the state.

In addition to submitting samples for CWD testing, hunters are also encouraged to properly dispose of deer carcass waste by locating a designated dumpster, transfer station or landfill location. Proper carcass disposal helps slow the spread of CWD by removing potentially infected deer carcasses from the landscape. A map of CWD sampling and carcass disposal locations is available on the DNR’s CWD sampling webpage.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. The DNR began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.


  • What: Public meeting on CWD in Wisconsin and local CWD testing efforts
  • When: Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Where: Polk County Government Center
    • West Conference Room (2nd floor)
    • 100 Polk County Plaza
    • Balsam Lake, WI 54810

Last Update: Nov 02, 2023 6:16 am CDT

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