Future management of CWD and how hunters can help

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 3:07 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A fatal, infectious nervous system disease that affects deer first appeared in Southwestern Wisconsin in 2002. Since then, Chronic Wasting Disease has spread to several counties, including a wild deer testing positive in both Shawano in Sheboygan counties over the last two years.

With its presence in the state reaching nearly two decades now, one thing has become clear about CWD.

“The notion 20 years ago that we might be able to snuff this out in Wisconsin is really in the rear view window, so it’s how we go forward with CWD on the landscape,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist.

In 2010, the DNR formed a 15-year CWD Response Plan to address and manage the disease in the state, with a review of progress towards meeting goals and objectives every five years.

As part of the plan, a committee was formed comprised of DNR staff, outside scientists and stakeholder groups representing conservation, business and hunting.

Now in the final five years of the initial plan, the CWD Response Plan Committee is ready to look toward the future.

“The first meeting on Friday is really to establish the ground work and the ground rules as to how we’re going to go forward, and then the idea is to have relatively frequent meetings over the course of the fall and early winter, and so it’ll be an intense process over the next coming months,” says Pritzl.

Tomorrow’s committee meeting will be virtual and streamed live on the DNR’s YouTube channel from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M.

With CWD slowly spreading across the state, the DNR is encouraging hunters to watch the meeting and then share feedback to help guide the future of CWD management.

“I think all deer hunters make their decisions as it relates to Chronic Wasting Disease based on their risk assessment and their comfort level, and that’s across the board, but what we want is to have people making that decision an informed decision,” says Pritzl.

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