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From: TSS ()
Subject: CWD Waukesha County's edge
Date: January 26, 2007 at 12:05 pm PST

Deer disease found at Waukesha County's edge
Sharpshooters thin herd in Kettle Moraine forest as chronic wasting spreads
Posted: Jan. 25, 2007
Sharpshooters are killing white-tailed deer in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest after the discovery of as many as nine cases of chronic wasting disease on Waukesha County's border.

It's the first time professional shooters are being used in the forest to stop the spread of the fatal brain disease to healthy herds that roam within 30 miles of Milwaukee County.

They will kill as many free-roaming deer as possible, Tami Ryan, state chronic wasting disease operations supervisor, said Thursday.

Sharpshooters also are being used for the first time at Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, where they have killed about 50 deer, said Greg Matthews, a state Department of Natural Resources spokesman.

Both herd-culling operations began this month. The DNR had relied on hunters to stem the spread of the disease by reducing deer populations in southeast and south-central Wisconsin.

Mandatory tests on harvested deer showed isolated pockets of the disease's expansion at the two parks, which led state officials to approve the use of sharpshooters, Ryan and Matthews said.

Devil's Lake lies along the northernmost reaches of the spread of the disease, while the Southern Unit lies along its eastern border.

"Like stamping out sparks from a forest fire to contain its spread, wildlife disease experts recommend preventing the spread of CWD by eliminating outbreaks near the edge of known infections areas," Ryan said. "This is a vital part of Wisconsin's CWD management strategy."

Near Milwaukee, three confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease were recorded from 2002 to 2005: in the extreme southern portion of Kettle Moraine, and near the city of Whitewater and the community of La Grange, both in northern Walworth County, she said.

Southern Walworth County is identified as a highly infectious zone. Tests have expanded the disease into northern Walworth and adjacent Rock and Jefferson counties, but not into Waukesha County, Ryan said.

During the 2006 hunting seasons, two confirmed cases of the disease originated from the southern edge of the state forest. In addition, seven pending cases from that same area are likely to be confirmed as chronic wasting disease, bringing the total of diseased deer to nine in one hunting season, she said.

Deer brought down by sharpshooters will be tested. Clean deer will be donated to food pantries.

The kill sites are well away from recreational areas used by skiers, hikers and mountain bikers, said forest superintendent Paul Sandgren.

The Southern Unit is the third state park where sharpshooters have been used. Shooting was used at Blue Mound State Park, west of Madison, in 2002 to reduce the population.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease in elk, moose and deer. A virus causes the death of brain cells and development of microscopic holes. It is transmitted from deer to deer, either through direct contact or body fluids contaminating the environment. There's strong evidence that the disease can be transmitted through saliva and possibly through feces.

Since 2002, more than 115,000 deer have been tested statewide, with 707 testing positive, 23 of them in Walworth County.


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