Hunters encouraged to test deer for chronic wasting disease before eating

By: - October 5, 2022 6:00 am

(Photo by JT Cestkowski)

As deer hunting opens up across the state, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging hunters to test deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Testing should be done before any venison is consumed.

Because deer infected with CWD may appear healthy, testing is highly encouraged, especially where CWD has been detected in wild deer or where deer farms have been purged due to the disease.

Free testing sites are available around the state, including self-service kiosks for hunters, which are available around the clock. . Kiosks are an option which are available 24/7. Deer can also be brought to participating cooperative meat processors, taxidermists, and other businesses. Testing also provides important data for the DNR about the health of deer herds, and where the disease may be running unchecked.

In its advanced state, CWD can cause deer to appear gaunt, listless and drooling — husks of the normally spry and wary animals we know. The neurological disease, which is also found in elk and moose, is always fatal. No cases have been documented of CWD jumping to a human host. Nevertheless, wildlife specialists recommend that hunters test all deer that they kill. Even if the test is negative, the meat should be cooked thoroughly before being consumed.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.