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DNR offering free deer surveillance tags to boost Northwoods CWD test numbersSubmitted: 11/07/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

DNR offering free deer surveillance tags to boost Northwoods CWD test numbers
RHINELANDER - Two confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease cases less than two miles apart in the Northwoods worry the DNR.  The first was found during the 2017 gun-deer season in northeastern Lincoln County off County A.  The second came during a special hunt in March 2018 near Crescent Corners in Oneida County. 

The agency is trying a new approach to find out if the disease is spreading.

The DNR is offering 270 deer surveillance tags starting Thursday.  Hunters get a permit to shoot an adult deer on specific public lands in Oneida, Lincoln, Vilas, or Forest counties.  The zones are within two regions of a ten-mile radius around the positive tests -- one termed the "Harrison" zone, the other near Three Lakes where a deer on a game farm tested positive in late 2015.


Hunters who use the special permit are required to submit the deer's head for CWD testing.

Wildlife biologist Janet Brehm says hunters haven't submitted as many deer voluntarily as the DNR hoped.

"We want to slow it as much as possible and not have it affect our herd because, unfortunately, once a deer has chronic wasting disease they will die from it. There's not a cure," Brehm said.

Hunters can pick up the permits for free at the Rhinelander DNR Service Center or the Merrill Ranger Office. The permits are first come, first served, and are valid through January 6th.

"We desperately need to understand where is this located and how prevalent is it on the ground?" Brehm said.

The DNR hopes to test 450 deer for CWD in the coming year between voluntary submissions and the surveillance permits.

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