How You Can Help

The first step in helping is learning more about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and the impact of CWD on Wisconsin’s deer herd and hunting tradition. It is important that Wisconsin’s hunters, landowners and citizens are informed about the latest scientific knowledge and recommendations for managing this disease. If we all understand the impact that this disease can have it will be easier for us all to work together to preserve the whitetail deer herd in Wisconsin.


It's especially critical that hunters and landowners in the CWD Management Zone understand and support the CWD response plan if it is going to be effective in minimizing the impacts of this disease. Following are some things you can do to help:


Landowners:

              • Stay abreast of new CWD information and research as it becomes available and familiarize yourself with Wisconsin’s CWD Response Plan
              • Allow hunters onto your land to shoot deer
              • Take advantage of post-season landowner hunting permits
              • Give permission to allow focused sharp-shooting on private property
 

Hunters:

        • Stay abreast of new CWD information and research as it becomes available, and familiarize yourself with Wisconsin’s CWD Response Plan
        • Help keep deer populations at the established DMU goals
        • Donate venison to food pantries
        • Dispose of bones and other carcass parts at a landfill with an approved dead animal disposal area
        • Get your deer tested for CWD. Find a sampling location near you.
        • Adhere to rules regarding movement of whole deer carcasses from within the CWD management zone to the rest of the state, and from other states and provinces that have the disease
        • Refrain from baiting and feeding deer to reduce the risk of disease transmission and  establishment of CWD and other serious cervid diseases in new areas
        • Shoot, but do not consume, an elk or deer that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick; or call your local DNR office for assistance.
        • When field-dressing game, wear rubber gloves and minimize the use of a bone saw to cut through the brain or spinal cord (backbone)
        • Bone out the meat
        • Minimize contact with, and do not consume, brain or spinal cord tissues, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after dressing and processing game meat


All indications are that the risks of CWD to the deer herd and to recreational hunting warrant the efforts to control the spread of the disease. Hunters and landowners can play a vital role by taking personal responsibility for helping to manage the deer population in the area they most frequently hunt or on the land they own.


The theme of Hunt. Harvest. Help. has been chosen for this campaign. Here is an explanation of that theme:

 Click here to download the Hunt. Harvest. Help. program brochure.

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FAQ

What is Chronic Wasting Disease?


Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. 

CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Within this family of diseases, there are several other variants that affect domestic animals: scrapie, which has been identified in domestic sheep and goats for more than 200 years, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle (also known as "mad cow disease"), and transmissible mink encephalopathy in farmed mink. 

Several rare human diseases are also TSEs. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) occurs naturally in about one out of every one million people worldwide. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (v-CJD) has been associated with the large-scale outbreak of BSE in cattle herds in Great Britain.