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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


The results from a special deer collection authorized last month by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are in and there’s good news for Clayton County: No signs of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) were found in the 90 samples submitted for testing. Allamakee County did not fare as well: One sample collected there tested positive for CWD; another sample is going through a second round of testing after coming back “suspected positive.” 

According to Terry Haindfield, a wildlife biologist with the DNR, 109 deer were harvested in Clayton County, including 19 fawns that were not tested due to their age and one animal that could not be used as a sample. The DNR issued 71 permits to 270 hunters. More than one person could be listed on a permit. A total of 424 tags were given out in Clayton County. The numbers were higher in Allamakee County: 110 samples (17 fawns were eliminated), 97 permits, 340 hunters and 615 tags. 

The DNR had hoped for 300 samples per zone, which would’ve been the equivalent of 3.3 deer per square mile in Clayton County and 1.28 deer per square mile in Allamakee County. The less-than-expected sample size does not diminish the importance of the findings.  

“This is a great result,” Haindfield said, referring to the low number of positive cases. “Also, removing two mature bucks from Allamakee means those two deer will not be infecting other animals.”

CWD, which is always fatal, is spread through direct contact with an infected animal or contact with soil that has prions from an infected animal, which makes removing infected deer from the overall population especially important.

The special collection, which ended January 28, was authorized after two positive samples were collected during the regular hunting season, one from each of the two counties. Last December, a deer killed in south-central Iowa tested positive for CWD, marking the first confirmation outside of the Clayton-Allamakee County area. Hainfield was disappointed but not surprised by the confirmation given the increasing number of positive CWD cases in Northeast Iowa and neighboring states.

The DNR continues to urge people to report animals that look sick. In addition, they continue their recommendation to test all harvested deer, regardless of season.

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