DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Dubuque County Conservation want hunters to bring in tissue samples of their game to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.
After a case of Chronic Wasting Disease popped up in Dubuque County in 2018, the Iowa DNR is taking extra measures to keep an eye on deer this season.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease that is extremely contagious to deer. It is 100% fatal and could have lasting effects on deer populations.
Curt Kemmerer, Wildlife Management Biologist with the DNR says while Chronic Wasting Disease naturally spreads slowly from deer to deer, hunters and other park visitors could be part of the problem. He says feeding deer could spread the disease more rapidly.
“We do hope that folks take that seriously and kind of reconsider,” he explains.”You know, do I really need to put this attractant out here, this food source and have all those deer noses and deer tongues sticking into the same pile of feed or the same salt block.”
Another disease that has wildlife managers concerned is Tuberculosis. Kemmerer says fortunately it is not a concern for Iowa deer populations. He says it is still something they are keeping an eye out for this year.
“Tuberculosis is something we don’t really have in Iowa, there are some other states that see it pop up once in a while. It’s something I wouldn’t say we’re real concerned with,” Kemmerer says. “Now if we get a call about a sick deer anything suspicious we’re definitely interested in taking a look we want to make sure that we’re not missing something.”
The DNR asks hunters to bring in tissue samples of their game. He says Chronic Wasting Disease is nearly impossible to detect so even a deer that appears to be healthy, could test positive for the disease.
The Swiss Valley Nature Center is a drop off site for deer tissue samples.
The Iowa DNR discourages people from eating deer meat that tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.