There were 1,060 white-tailed deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wisconsin during the 2018 surveillance year from April 1 through March 31.
This compares to 597 that tested positive during the 2017 surveillance year; however, state wildlife heath officials say the number of deer tested in 2018 was double that of 2017.
More than 17,200 deer were sampled and tested for CWD statewide in 2018, compared to 9,841 in 2017.
Most of the positive detections were primarily within the endemic area in southern Wisconsin, but also a new positive detected in Marquette County, and additional positive detections in already CWD-affected counties including Eau Claire, Lincoln, Portage, Adams, Juneau, Vernon, Crawford and Dodge counties.
The Department of Natural Resources has monitored trends in CWD distribution and prevalence within the state since its discovery in 2002. To date, more than 227,000 deer have been sampled for CWD statewide with over 5,200 testing positive.
In 2018, the number of deer sampled and determined to be positive for CWD by each management zones included Central Farmland Zone: 5,489 sampled, 9 positives; Central Forest Zone: 639 sampled, 11 positives; Northern Forest Zone: 2,354 sampled, 1 positive (Oneida County); and Southern Farmland Zone: 8,571 sampled, 1,039 positives.
There are currently 56 CWD-affected counties due to wild and captive CWD positive detections.
During the 2018 calendar year, Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Fond du Lac, Marinette, Florence, Lincoln, and Langlade counties were added as CWD-affected counties and Green Lake County was added as CWD-affected on March 1, 2019.
In 2018, statewide CWD surveillance was focused on annual areas of interest, disease assessment around recent CWD positive detections, and disease detection mainly in the west-central district across all 19 counties, as well as, continued hunter service testing, free of charge, for adult deer anywhere in the state.
State wildlife health officials say the increase in sampling is due to efforts to make it easier for hunters to submit samples.
For more information, including baiting and feeding regulations, ways to reduce the spread, and overall CWD information, visit the DNR website.