The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed a third wild whitetail deer in Oneida County, the fourth in a two-mile radius, has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

According to DNR Conservation Biologist Michele Woodford, the positive test was confirmed in a deer harvested in Oneida County through the CWD surveillance tag program.

The program issues either-sex tags to landowners and/or members of the public hunting in an affected area identified by the DNR. The purpose of the program is to gather a larger sample collection of deer heads to better grasp the severity and spread of the deadly brain disease.

The DNR began testing for CWD in 1999, and since then has analyzed 1,549 wild deer from Lincoln County along with another 2,285 from Oneida County. While only one confirmed wild case has come from Lincoln, with the three from Oneida there are four in the last three years in close proximity.

Woodford said the four positive wild tests do not include those which have come from a private game farm in Oneida County just outside Three Lakes, though a positive test in either location would reset appropriate baiting and feeding restrictions.

State law says that any county with a captive or wild CWD case must enact a three-year no baiting or feeding ordinance. Any county that falls within a 15-mile radius as the crow flies must also adhere to that restriction.

The current surveillance area where the most recent positive case was confirmed is located along the Highway 17 corridor south of RhineĀ­lander in the town of Crescent and stretches across Oneida and Lincoln counties.

CWD testing is a requirement for adult deer harvested in this area if harvested with a surveillance permit.

“CWD sampling will continue to be a priority in the CWD intensive surveillance area surrounding the wild positive detections,” said Woodford. “This new positive will reset the baiting and feeding ban in Oneida, Lincoln, and Langlade counties.”

Updated baiting and feeding regulations can be found on the DNR website.

The Oneida/Lincoln County area where the latest wild CWD positive deer was harvested was observed to have two positive tests in 2017 — one in Oneida and one in Lincoln.

There was another positive test conducted on a deer harvested during the nine-day gun deer season in 2018 in Oneida County, with the most recent also in Oneida County via the CWD surveillance program.

Woodford did confirm the four positive tests all came from whitetail deer harvested within a two-square mile area, meaning for now infection seems to be limited.

The most recent test has also reaffirmed the opinion of the DNR and Woodford that more testing is needed.

“We are asking all hunters to test deer harvested in the Northern Forest Zone this season by dropping off deer heads to a sampling station,” said Woodford. “There is a handy interactive map on our website and on the Hunt Wild WI smartphone app which shows where hunters can bring harvested deer to self-service sampling kiosks.”

Woodford said hunters interested in assisting with surveillance can visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “CWD sampling” to find focused surveillance areas, which in the Northern Forest Zone include the area along Highway 17 as well as around the hunting preserve in Three Lakes.

“We strongly encourage hunters to submit adult deer heads for testing from these areas,” said Janet Brehm, DNR wildlife biologist. “It is very important that we sample adult deer in these areas to gauge what is going on with this disease and to detect the infection early.”

The DNR’s goal is to test 450 deer inside each surveillance area to determine range and infection rate for CWD.

Hunters outside these surveillance areas can also have their adult deer tested at CWD sampling locations. Self-service kiosks are available to any hunter for CWD sampling.

Simply follow the directions found at any kiosk, which includes removing the deer’s head (including a portion of neck) and completing a data sheet. Removing antlers does not affect test results.