Deer brains to be tested for wasting disease

Associated Press

Wisconsin wildlife officials have exceeded their goal of shooting 500 deer to test them for a deadly brain disease, state officials said April 7.

State sharpshooters and private landowners have shot 503 deer, said Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Manwell.

Landowners, concerned the impact the disease will have on the herd, supplied the vast portion of the 503 deer killed, Manwell said.

"I think everybody is certainly concerned," Manwell said. "They want to know what's going on and they've been very helpful."


DNR biologist Carl Batha said officials will wait for the results of brain tissue tests to return from a lab in Ames, Iowa, before deciding how to proceed. No reliable method exists to detect chronic wasting disease in live animals, so they must be killed for testing.

Chronic wasting disease, also known as mad deer disease, causes animals to grow thin as it destroys their brains.

The disease has not been found in Minnesota deer.

Manwell said of 272 deer tested so far, nine tested positive for the disease -- bringing the total to 12 confirmed cases.

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