Wisconsin Public Television

Series: Chronic Wasting Disease In Wisconsin's Deer

The deer herd at the heart of Wisconsin's beloved hunting tradition faces a growing threat in the form of chronic wasting disease, caused by an infectious type of protein called prions. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began testing for CWD in 1999, detecting more than 100,000 infected deer since, mostly in southern areas of the state. As DNR policies for monitoring CWD shift amid changing political priorities for wildlife management, hunters and scientists remain concerned about the disease's threat to the health of the deer herd.
 
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With Wisconsin's wild elk population numbering only in the hundreds, wildlife managers are keeping tabs on the threat chronic wasting disease may pose to the animal. WisContext associate editor Will Cushman discusses work to reintroduce elk in the state and assess its risk to CWD.
The threat of chronic wasting disease to Wisconsin's booming whitetail deer herd is motivating efforts to track and research its spread, but this deadly ailment also imperils efforts to reintroduce wild elk to the state.
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The 2019 gun deer season marks the 18th since the discovery of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin's herd. Four hunters explain why they do and do not get their harvest tested for CWD. Meanwhile, researchers are using a depopulated deer farm to investigate how the disease is spread.
Wisconsin enacted new rules for hunters and deer farms to halt the spread of chronic wasting disease. George Meyer, former Department of Natural Resources secretary and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation executive director, discusses these changes.
The issue of chronic wasting disease has been prevalent among the deer population in Wisconsin, but could the disease spread to humans? University of Minnesota professor Michael Osterholm says it might.
Wisconsin is continuing to grapple with the implications of chronic wasting disease and its effects on the state's deer herd and the hunting season.
Data from dead deer in Wisconsin and applied to living ones in Virginia could help detect disease earlier in herds in the Great Lakes states and elsewhere.
Wisconsin environmental regulators announced in August 2018 that they will take new steps to track and try to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease among the state's deer population.
After years of Wisconsin testing fewer deer for chronic wasting disease but finding more cases of infections, a new study offered some additional clues about how CWD might spread through the environment.
Researchers have found prions that cause chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin's soil and water. UW-Madison soil scientist Joel Pederson explains what this research means about the spread of CWD around the state.