DNR Encourages Hunters to Test Deer for CWD Before Eating

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

This hunting season some Department of Natural Resources experts are sending out recommendations that hunters test deer for a deadly disease that is killing deer by the thousands before consuming the meat. This suggestion also comes from several health services organizations. The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization are also recommending the testing.

According to the recommendations, it is important to test the animals for Chronic Wasting Diseases (CWD) prior to consuming the venison. Especially since many deer infected with this condition can often appear healthy at first. It is especially important that consumers test the animals in areas where CWD is known to be present. No matter what the animal’s physical condition appears to be.

What is Chronic Wasting Disease Exactly?

Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological condition that always proves fatal in deer, elk, moose, and caribou. The deadly disease attacks the animal’s nervous systems leading to major health problems including behavioral changes and muscle coordination issues.

Chronic Wasting Disease is often spread through contact with infected saliva, urine of feces. However, animals can also contract the disease through indirect sources in a contaminated environment. The bacteria leading to the infections are said to be extremely resilient. They can survive in the soil for a long time. A trademark that makes containing the disease a challenge to outdoors experts.

Officials Are Making Chronic Waste Disease Testing In Deer Easy And Accessible For Consumers

Some DNR organizations are making it easy for hunters to test their deer for the deadly disease. The Wisconsin DNR officials are offering various free testing options for customers. Many of these include a process that begins with a sample drop-off.

The Department of Natural Resources experts note that having these animals tested for Chronic Wasting Disease will help the experts protect deer herds. This comes as the samples will provide the necessary data needed to understand where the disease exists in the areas, helping them to work on slowing the spread.

When a hunter submits a sample from the deer for testing the customer can access the DNR’s online Chronic Wasting Disease form to make the process go a little smoother. This form is available on the Go Wild website after officially registering the deer.

This online form will automatically fill out the consumer’s name. It will also submit the hunter’s contact information, customer identification, and harvest registration number. This option also includes an interactive map, pinning the animal’s harvest location. Customers can also find at-home tests that work via lymph node sampling, as well as via several meat processing services, or even taxidermists.