The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has looked through more than 4,000 samples and did not find any news cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer.
DNR Wildlife Research Supervisor, Willie Suchy, a deer shot in Allamakee County remains the only positive case in the wild deer population. “It’s good news, we wish there were zero, but we knew the day would come when we would end up with a positive given the proximity of CWD in other states,” Suchy says.
It’s pretty likely since the deer was shot in a border county that the animal was visiting Iowa from one of those other states. “We think that the most likely scenario is that this is a deer that was probably in Wisconsin — or it could have been Illinois or Minnesota — and migrated over and showed up in Iowa. It was a mature adult buck and those are — when they’re yearling, some of the animals that travel the furthest,” according to Suchy.
The next step is to take more samples in the area where the deer tested positive. “To see if this deer had the opportunity to be on the landscape long enough to infect other animals, or if it was just there for a short period of time,” Suchy says. “If we don’t detect any new cases, then we would conclude that we are back to just normal surveillance.”
The DNR held three public meetings in Allamakee And Clayton County on CWD, and Suchy says those residents appear willing to help. “People are very willing at this point to work with us to get more samples and find out more and then down the road someday there may have to be some harder decisions if we find more,” Suchy says. He says controlling the spread of CWD all depends on how large an infestation there is. Suchy says it’s possibly that natural mortality and the annual hunting seasons could wipe out the infected deer if the infestation is at a low level. The DNR has taken samples from nearly 51-thousand wild deer and 3,500 captive deer and elk for CWD since 2002. Most of the samples are taken in the 11 counties in northeast Iowa which is the area closest to states that have CWD infestations.