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Chronic Wasting Disease

CWD: If you don’t have it, you don’t want it. If you do have it, you want as little as possible.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been identified by every state and federal wildlife agency, wildlife biology associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as one of the leading conservation challenges of the 21st Century.


First identified in captive deer in the late 1960s and in wild populations in 1981, CWD, according to the USGS Wildlife Health Center, is an always fatal neurological disease occurring in members of the deer family throughout North America.

This CWD page provides:

1. Links to trusted resources for information about CWD that are frequently updated to provide the latest information about the disease.

2. My experience with and perspective of CWD as a landowner, hunter and conservationist living with the disease in Southwest Wisconsin.


Trusted Resources for Information about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

USGS Wildlife Health Center CWD Page

USGS - Expanding Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease


Center For Disease Control - CWD



CWD was discovered near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin in 2002. After initial policies and methods to control the disease were abandoned because of political pressure, CWD has since spread geographically and grown in prevalence throughout Southwest Wisconsin. The Duren Farm, located in Richland County, is in the CWD Management Zone that was first designated when the disease was discovered.  Following the ill-advised change in Wisconsin State Deer Management policy to take a “more passive approach” to CWD, positivity rates have reached 20% county wide. On the Duren Farm, where we have taken a more aggressive approach to managing our deer population; we require all deer to be tested for CWD and have been able to maintain a 4-5% positivity rate since our first positive deer were detected in 2017.

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