Concerns of a larger outbreak of chronic wasting disease is high after the discovery of an infected animal on a Wisconsin deer farm.
Baiting and feeding of deer will now be illegal in Eau Claire, Clark and Jackson counties starting Aug. 1, after post-mortem tests on a seven-year-old doe on an Eau Claire County deer farm showed it carried chronic wasting disease or CWD.
While the positively-tested animal was in captivity, concern over an outbreak of the mad-cow-like disease in the immediate area is a very real concern.
The facility, home to 167 animals, had twenty deer escape back in May. The timing was unfortunate, as the incident occurred just one month before the positively-tested doe died. Three of these animals are still unaccounted for.
The positive news for hunters is the DNR has been testing animals in the area around the farm for years without a positive test on a wild animal.
Because the infected animal was in captivity, the investigation falls to the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, who are looking at the infected doe’s history.
The discovery brings the number of affected counties with baiting bans up to 38 in the state since the disease was first discovered there in 2002. The state has a law that dictates a ban within a 10-mile radius of wherever the disease is found.
Chronic wasting disease is caused by abnormal proteins and is highly infectious to deer and elk. While it has not been shown to affect humans, the Centers for Disease Control still advise against eating the meat of an infected animal.
How this discovery may affect Wisconsin’s deer season this year remains to be seen.