Based on test results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed that a whitetail buck from a hunting ranch in Forest County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The six-year-old buck was born on a breeding farm in Marinette County and was moved to the 230-acre Forest County hunt ranch in 2014. 

Both the breeding farm and hunt ranch have been quarantined since June 2018 because the breeding farm tested positive for CWD and both locations are registered to the same owner. A quarantine means no animals may move in or out of the locations which helps to prevent the spread of disease.

According to the owner’s most recent registration, the hunting ranch contains only whitetail deer. 

DATCP’s Division of Animal Health is working with the owner of the Forest County facility to determine if any changes are needed to the existing herd plan. A herd plan provides restrictions under a quarantine that the owner must operate under to prevent the spread of disease.

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, elk and moose caused by an infectious protein called a prion that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death. 

DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. DATCP’s Division of Animal Health monitors animal health and disease threats, promotes humane treatment of animals, and provides licensing and registration regulation for animals in Wisconsin.

DNR response

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild whitetail deer for CWD.

The DNR may establish a CWD-affected area around the location of known positive cases of CWD. There are currently 55 CWD-affected counties. Of these counties, 25 are designated as such due to having a wild CWD positive deer, 16 are within 10 miles of a wild CWD positive deer and 14 have a captive CWD positive or are within 10 miles of a captive CWD positive deer.

The CWD-affected counties are different than the counties which have baiting and feeding bans. Because a deer on a Three Lakes deer ranch tested positive for CWD, Oneida County has been under a baiting and feeding ban. Vilas and Forest counties also had a baiting and feeding ban because those counties were within 10 miles of the captive CWD positive deer.