The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is holding an informational meeting in Dubuque County Thursday on Chronic Wasting Disease in deer after the first positive sample from a deer in the county was confirmed.
DNR wildlife biologist Terry Haindfield says he expects to get a lot of interest at the meeting in Peosta now that the disease has been found. “We’ve had some public meetings where the disease is not in the area and don’t have much and don’t have very much turnout,” Haindfield says. “But once it comes into a county…we do see large turnouts come to meetings and that’s great.”
He says they want to provide information and take questions from Dubuque County residents. “First thing will be some background information of what the disease is. And we greatly appreciate attendees coming to get the scientific basis of the disease rather than coffee shop talk,” according to Haindfield. “So we can give them information about the disease, and then also we can tell them what ways can the public help us stop or slow the disease on their part.”
One of the things they will do is asking hunters to submit more samples from the county to help track the disease. He says they’ll be working with the landowners and hunters to increase the samples, and will also be watching for road kill deer in the area to take additional samples throughout the year. The positive sample was taken from a road-kill deer two-and-a-half miles southeast of the city of Dubuque.
Haindfield says that poses some other issues. “This positive in Dubuque County being so close to an urban center raises more concern — as far as the disease possibly having a reservoir in a city limits,” Haindfield explains. “Even though Dubuque does a great job of having bow hunting within their city limits and a deer management zone on the perimeter outside their city limits, having a disease in there could be a reservoir that makes it a little different than the rest of them that we’ve had in Iowa.”
He says the difference is that the deer in urban areas are not spread out and that could lead to what he calls the “reservoir” for the quicker spread of the disease. Haindfield says the methods for thinning out the herd in an urban area are limited. “They’re just not accessible for hunting, let’s say with a gun, it’s restricted there for obvious reasons. We want to make sure that there is not high densities of deer when the disease is close to an urban situation,” Haindfield says.
The postive Dubuque County CWD test came along with eight positive deer confirmed in Allamakee County, four in Clayton County, one (plus two suspected) in Wayne County. The other counties have all had positive tests in the past.
The DNR’s meeting on the topic is set for Thursday (Jan. 17) at 6:30 p.m. at the Peosta Community Center, 7896 Burds Road, in Peosta.
(Photo courtesy of the Iowa DNR)