Skip to main content

Contact: DNR Office of Communications

DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer Harvested In Vilas County

Baiting And Feeding Bans Renewed For Vilas And Forest Counties And Remain In Effect For Oneida County

An image of a map of Wisconsin pinpointing a location of a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) location. The Wisconsin DNR confirms CWD in wild deer harvested in Vilas County. Baiting and feeding bans renewed for Vilas and Forest Counties and remain in effect for Oneida County.

Editor's Note: This release has been corrected to reflect that the deer was harvested in Lincoln Township, not the town of Lincoln.

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Lincoln Township in Vilas County. This is the first confirmed wild positive case of CWD in Vilas County.

As required by state law, the DNR enacts three-year baiting and feeding bans in counties where CWD has been detected and two-year bans in adjoining counties that lie within 10 miles of a CWD detection.

Following state law, the DNR will renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Vilas County as well as a two-year ban in Forest county, as the deer was harvested within 10 miles of the county line. Oneida County is also within 10 miles of the Vilas positive’s harvest location but is already under a longer three-year baiting and feeding ban due to a positive CWD detection at a game farm earlier this year.

Baiting or feeding deer encourages them to congregate unnaturally around a shared food source where sick deer can spread CWD through direct contact with healthy deer or by leaving behind infectious prions in their bodily secretions.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin is available here.

The DNR asks deer hunters in Vilas, Forest and Oneida counties to assist with efforts to identify where CWD occurs. Those harvesting deer within 10 miles of the newly detected positive case are especially encouraged to have their harvested adult deer tested for CWD. Collecting CWD samples is essential for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state.

The DNR will work with Vilas County Deer Advisory Council members to schedule a meeting in January to discuss response actions. Members of the public will be invited to attend this meeting and will have the opportunity to provide input.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

Information on how to have deer tested during the 2020-21 hunting seasons is available here.