GREEN BAY, WB (WBAY) – A Wisconsin tradition returns Saturday with the archery and crossbow season opening, and deer hunters in northeastern Wisconsin are invited to do their part to help monitor the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Over the past two years, CWD has surfaced in northeastern Wisconsin with one wild deer testing positive in Sheboygan, Shawano and Green Lake counties and two deer in Marquette County.

“So this southwest corner of our region is really where we see what was probably the creep of the vast area into the state where we know it exists in the wild. These others are more what we would describe as a spark, the unknown origin, but we want to focus on those areas to extinguish that spark, ”says Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist.

This fall marks the second year that the state’s MDC sampling efforts have focused on northeastern Wisconsin. Pritzl says the goal is to have at least 300 deer tested per county.

“This gives us a statistical sample that says we have 95 percent confidence that if the disease was here at a one percent level, we would find it,” says Pritzl.

In order for a deer to be tested, which is free, hunters must save their heads with at least 5 inches of the neck attached.

“The easiest way to do that is to find our self-service kiosks scattered across northeastern Wisconsin. Those the locations are available on the site, and then it can be done on the hunter’s schedule and at his time and convenience, ”says Pritzl.

As for the outlook for the start of the season, Pritzl says a number of factors look favorable.

“I think all the arrows this year point to increased opportunities early on. Our deer population estimates are a little higher than they were last year, and agriculture programs the practice of harvesting, whether it is hay, soybeans, corn, everything is on schedule, so hunters can plan it accordingly, ”explains Pritzl.

Hunters are reminded to check the regulations of the county in which they plan to hunt, as they may vary with regards to baiting and feeding restrictions and harvesting opportunities.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.