The bow hunting season for deer opens Monday and the Iowa DNR has a series of meetings scheduled to talk with hunters about identifying and preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Wildlife biologist, Terry Haindfield says they are doing some new things this year to help those in areas where there have been positive tests for the disease. “We have an e-mail address that people can ask questions about CWD in the three zones in Iowa — Allamakee, Clayton and Wayne County,” Haindfield says. “We also have a dedicated phone for each of those regions where people can call to line up getting sample taken from their deer.”

CWD is brain disease that is always fatal to deer. Haindfield says the samples from hunters are important in tracking the disease and they will continue taking increased samples in the areas where the disease has been found in past seasons. Another new feature on the DNR website allows hunters to keep track of the process.

“Hunters will be able to check the status of their samples of when they have been tested, and if they’re cleared for processing and consumption,” he says. The Iowa deer that have tested positive have come along the borders with other states that have more confirmed cases of CWD. He says it is possible that the positive deer found in Iowa came from other states.

“We’ll never know, but that is definitely a likelihood of those areas. We’ve been scanning close the Mississippi River, knowing Wisconsin and Illinois have had positives close to us. And we are just looking harder in those areas that have the higher possibility of positives,” according to Haindfield. “We have Minnesota knocking at the door up above Winneshiek, Howard County. We have it also in Nebraska close to Council Bluffs, so we are watching the Missouri River there, and Missouri too with that positive.”

The DNR has been doing additional testing and trying track and inform residents about the disease since it was first discovered. Haindfield can’t say for sure that those efforts have prevented the widespread movement of CWD. “I’d love to take the credit that the DNR is doing something really fantastic her to slow it down — and maybe we are,” Haindfield says. “And I was surprised in northeast Iowa that we had 12 (positive cases) two years ago and only 10 last year. Where I anticipated that maybe going to 20 or 30. That may happen this year, but maybe some of the efforts that we are doing are slowing the disease down.”

Haindfield credits hunters and others with helping out in the effort to track and limit the disease. “There’s a tremendous interest from hunters and landowners and citizens of Iowa, and the tradition of deer in Iowa is important — economically, for a food source, and for recreation. And there is great, great support for what each individual can do to help slow or stop this disease,” Haindfield says.

CWD meetings are scheduled for October 4th, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Wayne County Fairgrounds 4H building in Corydon; October 8th, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Correctionville Community Center, in Correctionville; October 9th, from 2-3:30 p.m., at Bass Pro Shops in Council Bluffs; and October 9th, from 6:30-8 p.m., Mills County Conservation Nature Center, in Pacific Junction. The meetings are open to the public.

For more information on CWD and the deer hunting seasons, go to the Iowa D-N-R’s website