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Wisconsin DNR urges hunters to get deer tested for CWD before consuming meat from it

Deer captured on a trail camera near Rhinelander
John Burton
Deer captured on a trail camera near Rhinelander

The Wisconsin DNR is urging hunters to get their deer checked for Chronic Wasting Disease before eating any of the meat.

CWD has slowly been making its way into deer herds in Northern Wisconsin.

It’s now been found in wild deer in Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Langlade, and Lincoln County.

“CWD does remain a significant concern in the state of Wisconsin as deer are an incredibly valued resource in our state. The disease was first detected in 2002. And since that time, we have seen an increasing percent of deer infected in some parts of the state,” said Jasmine Benton, DNR Wildlife Health Section Supervisor.

The disease can have an incubation period of over a year, which means infected deer can appear healthy for months before showing signs of illness.

When signs are visible, the common signs are drastic weight loss, drooped head and ears, loss of coordination, excessive salivation, and reduced fear of humans.

There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans.

But state, federal, and global health officials do not recommend eating meat from a deer that’s testing positive for it.

“One of the most important things that hunters can do is keep hunting. Hunters are our number one defense against CWD and CWD is not a reason for hunters to stop doing what they love to do,” said Benton.

There are multiple ways to get your deer tested. You can find a sample drop-off site here.

The DNR says more testing drop-offs will become available as the hunting season goes on and encourages hunters to regularly check the website.


Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.