The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expanding programs aimed at reducing the spread of chronic wasting disease. The agency announced it will offer cost-sharing to those who are willing to offer Adopt-a-Kiosk and Adopt-a-Dumpster programs across the state.
The dumpsters give hunters a way to properly dispose of deer carcasses to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease on the landscape. The kiosks help the DNR collect samples from deer harvested by hunters to test for CWD.
Tami Ryan, acting director for the DNR’s Bureau of Wildlife Management, said the goal is to grow participation in the programs to improve sampling and carcass disposal efforts.
“The priority would be to try to get dumpster locations in areas where there aren’t options currently available in CWD-affected counties where CWD has been detected in wild deer,” Ryan said.
There are currently 56 counties that are affected by the disease. The DNR is also looking for people to provide dumpsters on private land. Last year, around 150,000 pounds of deer remains were collected through 16 Adopt-a-Dumpster sites. Ryan said cost-sharing is only available for the Adopt-a-Dumpster program.
Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chairman Larry Bonde said members are excited about the expansion of the Adopt-a-Dumpster program through cost-sharing.
“It’s a big job and for someone to take it on all by themselves without any assistance, (that) was really holding that program back,” Bonde said.
He added people often don’t know what to do with deer carcasses where landfills aren’t an option for disposal and landowners don’t want them left on the landscape.
The agency also hopes increased participation in the Adopt-a-Kiosk program will assist with sampling efforts. The DNR has been increasing CWD surveillance across the state. This year, the DNR is focusing on 18 counties in northern Wisconsin.
Ryan said they’re projecting to collect at least 21,000 samples statewide this year, which would be a roughly 18 percent increase in samples collected during 2018.
Sportsmen and women in Douglas County are looking to offer kiosks and dumpsters this year, said Tom Johnson, director of the Douglas County Fish and Game League and chairman of the Douglas County delegation for the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
“(CWD) doesn’t affect Douglas County right now, but the monitoring of this and doing these samples is important just to keep (tabs) on it,” Johnson said.
Johnson said they want to make it more convenient for hunters to take part and drop off samples for testing. Douglas County is among the 16 counties that are still unaffected by the deadly deer disease. Officials in nearby Bayfield County have also said they intend to work with the Adopt-a-Dumpster program and establish kiosks for testing deer this fall.
The agency provides sampling supplies at kiosks, which are set up so hunters can drop off deer heads for testing at any time.
There were two Adopt-a-Kiosks sites in the first year of the program in 2018.