Monitoring the spread of CWD this deer season


Ky McCombe

The foliage lays on the forest ground of the Whitewater Nature Preserve near Schwager Drive Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2021.

Brian Gale, Arts & Recreation Journalist

Hunters across the state are enjoying deer hunting season with bow and gun through the various special hunts that run into the winter. These hunters have their own traditions with family and friends. Sam Volden who hunts in Vernon County Wisconsin is one of these hunters.

“Our family usually all hunts at least on opening day together,” says Volden. “It’s a special time for us to get outdoors together.” 

In the 21st Century, it’s also now a tradition for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ask hunters for help in slowing the spread of CWD. CWD is chronic wasting disease, which can be found in lots of animals, and particularly deer, which many eat. They hope by monitoring this disease they can help protect the deer in Wisconsin. There are different ways you can get the deer tested for the disease. One of these being a self-service kiosk. This is an easy option for antlerless deers. To get it tested, just drop off the deer’s head with five inches of the neck attached. Another way to get it tested is to use the at home testing kits. To use these you extract the retropharyngeal lymph nodes ulsing the instructions provided by the DNR, and then you return them to DNR for them to test. Also, you can also set up an appointment with local DNR staff. This is a good way if hunters want a European mount done, and all you have to do is contact DNR to set up an appointment. 

“I do feel it is important, but not everyone has the time to send in a test for every deer that they harvest per season,” says Volden. “I have had my deer tested for CWD before, but I do not do it every time I harvest a deer.

This year that won’t be a problem for Volden as there is a new online form he can complete. The online form automatically completes all the information you need to have entered. If you would like more information on how you can help prevent the spread of CWD you can go to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website