MARATHON COUNTY - It will take scientists and officials weeks to run tests on a harvested deer in central Wisconsin found carrying Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
The DATCP released a report Monday saying a white-tailed deer from a hunting preserve in Marathon County tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
The 5-year-old buck was harvested on Nov. 4 at the Wilderness Game Farm near Eland. According to the DATCP, the deer was one of 370 deer at the 351-acre preserve near the Marathon-Shawano County boarder.
It’s been five years since scientists have found the disease on a hunting preserve in Wisconsin.
Tami Ryan, DNR Chief of Wildlife Health Program, believes this would be more of a scare if it was outside of a preserve.
"The concerns would be much different if we had noted or there had been any escapes from the facility in the past or if the fence was found to be in poor condition," Ryan said. "But none of that exists."
The DATCP says the farm was following protocol. They were tracking deer movement and other information that is required by the state. Their facility also had the proper double fence around the preserve. Those fences help keep their deer in and others out.
For now, the preserve, along with three other preserves under the same company, is quarantined. DATCP spokesperson Raechelle Cline says hunting there will continue.
"During this time they'll still be allowed to conduct hunts on the preserve because properly handled dead animals don't pose the disease risk," Cline said.
Investigators will run tests over the next couple weeks to figure out how the deer got the disease.
"We'll look at the animal's history and trace its movements from onto and off the property to determine whether or not it had any exposure or may have been exposed to any other deer from the herd," Cline said.
Cline says documentation required at hunting preserves will help in the investigation.
"It makes it easier certainly to do the epidemiological study of where this might have come from," Cline said. "It still takes time."
Chronic Wasting Disease causes weight loss until death for deer. It was first discovered in Wisconsin near Madison in 2002.
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