Based on test results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed mid-November that a white-tailed deer harvested from a 220-acre Portage County hunt ranch has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The hunt ranch had purchased the three-year-old buck from a Portage County breeding farm. DATCP has quarantined both the breeding farm and the hunt ranch. A quarantine means no animals may move in or out of the farm and further restricts movement of carcasses.
According to the most recent owner registration, the 11-acre breeding farm has 42 whitetail deer, is double-fenced and is enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program. DATCP’s Division of Animal Health will investigate the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the breeding farm to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD-positive deer.
The hunt ranch has 156 deer and elk and will have additional testing requirements to better monitor and analyze the spread of the disease.
CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk and moose caused by an infectious protein called a prion that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death.