DNR continues surveillance for CWD
Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff are in the field during Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons, collecting samples to test for Chronic Wasting Disease in Iowa’s wild deer herd.
The effort will concentrate on portions of northeast Iowa near Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as in Wapello, Davis, Pottawattamie and Cerro Gordo counties, following positive tests from captive facilities in or near those counties last year.
Many of the samples were to be collected during the first half of December, as more than 120,000 hunters took part in Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons and deer harvested during those seasons are major sources of samples.
Sampling, which involves removing and testing the brain stem and lymph nodes, has been done on free-ranging deer across Iowa for years. Many hunters voluntarily contribute samples of their harvested deer for the testing efforts. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points.
DNR has historically focused its sampling efforts heaviest in northeast Iowa after Wisconsin and Illinois yielded positive cases in recent years. After the positive findings in captive herds in 2012, DNR focused additional testing in Wapello, Davis, Pottawattamie and Cerro Gordo counties. Sampling in northeast Iowa for the 2013-14 seasons will continue at a slightly lower intensity in order to accommodate testing in the additional counties.
Since 2002, more than 47,000 wild deer in Iowa have been tested, with no positive CWD result in the wild herd detected to date.
“We are hopeful CWD has not spread into Iowa’s deer herd. The only way to know this is to continue to collect samples and do the testing. We will work through all hunting seasons, with the peak being the shotgun seasons in December,” said Dale Garner, the wildlife bureau chief.
Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease at: www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/DeerHunting/CWDEHDInformation.aspx.