BLUE MOUNDS (WKOW) — Saturday is the first day of the gun deer season and hunters across the area continued their yearly tradition but with a heightened concern about chronic wasting disease.
DNR biologists were busy all day as hunters brought their quarry in to get tested for chronic wasting disease.
Outdoor Addiction in Blue Mounds has been a sample collection site for the past four years.
“Most people want to test it, those people who don’t I always encourage them,” Alex Lease, who owns Outdoor Addiction, said. “It provides good data for the DNR and for all the residents who hunt and then you always get a bonus tag if it’s positive to go out and shoot another healthy deer to put in your freezer.”
CWD is an always fatal disease that spreads easily through the deer population.
By getting samples, the DNR can track the disease and learn more about it to hopefully stop it.
With CWD blooming in the area around Blue Mounds and Iowa County, hunters like Ryan Tuohy have been seeing more and more sick deer.
“Out of 20 or 30, I’ve had two test positive,” he said.
Tuohy says, since that, he’s making sure to test every single deer he hunts.
“It’s a main source of food for my family so testing the deer is always key, for not only my family but also the landowners who I hunt on their land, they like to have the deer tested as well,” Tuohy said.
He says he waits to hear back on the results before processing his meat to be eaten.
Even though research has shown there’s no obvious issue in eating the meat, it is highly discouraged.
The DNR says these tests and sampling will help in the long run.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is buy time until research can come up with ways to control it or, more importantly, eradicate it from the landscape,” Todd Naas, Wildlife Biologist at Wisconsin DNR.
For any hunters who want to test their deer this season, the DNR asks that you take your deer to the closest sample station, no further than one county away.
You can find sampling stations here.