The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a tissue sample from a road killed deer collected on the south side of Sioux City shows a high likelihood that the deer was infected with Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD.

The DNR’s Tyler Harms says that first test is enough for them to take additional action. “That test still needs to be confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames. But we move forward as if that deer has tested positive,” Harms explains.

He says the DNR has established a priority zone for tissue collection in Woodbury County extending 10 miles around where the positive sample was collected and is working to have a map available online  “We are increasing our CWD monitoring efforts in Woodbury in response to this new positive,” Harms says. “We are looking for assistance from hunters in Woodbury County in helping us out with that monitoring effort by providing tissues samples from any deer that they harvest in any of the deer seasons until the end of the deer season in early January.”

The first shotgun deer season opens Saturday. Harms says it is easy for hunters to provide a tissue sample. “They’re encouraged to contact their local (DNR) biologist in the area and they can make arrangements for getting those tissue samples from those hunters,” he says.

Harms says Woodbury is among the counties that had already been getting some extra attention. “We’ve been doing increase surveillance in counties along the Missouri River border because there have been animals that have tested positive in Nebraska,” Harms says. “We have not had any other animals test positive — at least wild animals test positive — in any counties in western Iowa.”

Woodbury County becomes the fifth of 99 counties in Iowa where a wild deer has tested positive for the always fatal disease. Most of the other counties are in eastern Iowa and the common link between all of them is they border states where deer have tested positive for CWD. Harms says it is possible the Woodbury County deer that tested positive may’ve taken a swim across the Missouri River from Nebraska.

“It’s really hard to know for sure. That’s certainly a possibility,” according to Harms. “It’s kind of a common misconception that deer can’t cross these really large water bodies. They most certainly can — deer can swim and at times are very good at it — and so that’s certainly a possibility. However, there are lots of other ways this disease can be spread on the landscape.”

The Iowa DNR says it has already confirmed positive CWD in samples from deer in Allamakee and Wayne counties in the 2019 testing season. Chronic wasting disease. There are a few things hunters can do to stop or slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, including not leaving the deer carcass on the landscape and not using feed or salt-mineral to attract deer.

Sioux City banned feeding deer within city limits in 2012.

(DNR photo)