The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) yesterday reported the first chronic wasting disease (CWD) detection in a wild deer in Langlade County in the town of Wolf River, which is located in the north central part of the state.
In a press release, the WDNR said the animal was a 1-year-old hunter-harvested buck. Based on state law, the detection triggers the renewal of a 3-year baiting and feeding ban in the county and a 2-year ban in border counties within 10 miles of a CWD detection. Langlade County borders the Menominee Reservation in Menominee County and Octonto County.
The Menominee tribal government has imposed its own baiting ban for the reservation's exterior boundaries, and the WDNR said it is working with tribal officials regarding the baiting and feeding bans, which are steps taken to prevent deer from congregating in areas that may be contaminated by sick animals.
Officials noted that Oconto County is already under a ban due to detections in that county.
The WDNR asked local hunters and landowners to help assess the extent of spread in the southeastern part of the county by applying for surveillance permits, which allow the harvesting of adult deer, which must be tested for CWD.
Expanded spread in Wisconsin
Earlier this month, the WDNR reported CWD in a wild deer harvested from Sheboygan County, a 4- to 5-year-old doe taken during the 2022 gun deer season. And in January, it reported CWD for the first time in a wild deer from Waupaca County, which came just a month after the first detection in a Buffalo County wild deer.
CWD, a fatal prion disease, can spread among cervids like deer, elk, and moose. The disease spreads through contaminated environments, antler velvet, and body fluids and tissues.
Though CWD isn't known to infect humans, health officials warn against eating the meat of infected animals due to concerns that it could cause an illness similar to another prion disease, bovine spongiform encephalitis ("mad cow" disease).