Deer outside WI eradication zone tests CWD

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Deer outside kill area had wasting disease

By MEG JONES of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  staff

May 22, 2002

Minoqua - Four more deer near Mount Horeb have tested positive for chronic wasting disease - including a doe that was shot just outside of a 287-square-mile "eradication zone" where other diseased deer were discovered, state officials said Wednesday.

Since one of the infected animals was found outside that zone - where the Department of Natural Resources wants to kill every whitetail deer to stop the spread of the deadly disease - that zone will be expanded by 74 square miles, officials said.

That brings the total number of deer that have tested positive for the disease to 18 - three deer shot during the November gun-deer hunt and 15 from a group of roughly 500 deer that were killed and tested after the state learned the disease was in Wisconsin.

DNR officials were notified Friday of the possibility of four more positive test results, which were confirmed this week, DNR veterinarian Julie Langenberg told the Natural Resources Board at its meeting here.

Tests of brain stem tissue of the four initially came back negative, but additional tests of lymph node tissue were conducted and those tests showed infection. That suggests the two does and two bucks, ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old, were in earlier stages of infection than those whose brain stems showed evidence of chronic wasting disease, Langenberg said.

Langenberg said officials were not surprised to find the infected doe outside of the eradication zone.

"She represents a situation that we expected with this outbreak," Langenberg said. "We expected sparks out in front of this infection."

The new eradication zone is near Ridgeway, southwest of the other cases of infected deer. The DNR is drawing a 4-mile radius circle around the latest area of infection because that represents the area that almost all does and roughly three-quarters of all bucks move. Just how many additional deer will be killed is not known.

The Natural Resources Board did not take any action on chronic wasting disease Tuesday. The board is expected to vote next month on an emergency rule giving the DNR powers to stop the spread of the ailment which is similar to mad cow disease.

Board Chairman TrygveSolberg said he wasn't surprised to learn that more deer tested positive said he's worried about the health of the state herd and the effect it'll have on hunters and the hunting economy.

"It's terrible. It's one of the worst things that's happened in the state of Wisconsin," said Solberg.

In the hope of stopping the disease from spreading, landowners in the eradication zone will be given permits to shoot deer on their land. Postcards were sent out Tuesday and Wednesday to all landowners outlining the procedure to apply for the permits. The DNR expects the first requests will be returned by early next week, said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR's wildlife management bureau.

Although the DNR considered scheduling a continuous hunting season in the eradication zone starting as soon as possible, complaints from landowners led the agency to change its plans. Instead of continuous hunting, each landowner permit will be issued for a seven-day period once each month.

That will give landowners three weeks each month when shooting will not be allowed on their property, said Hauge.

"They want some normalcy in their life especially during the summer," Hauge said.

The first of the landowner permits will be issued for June 8-14. The DNR doesn't expect many deer - probably only 500 of the 15,000 - will be killed during June, July and August with the bulk being shot in the fall.

More complete coverage of this story will appear online later today and in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the morning.
 

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