The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that two deer at a Trempealeau County hunting ranch have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Results were confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Fawn whitetail deer. Image/Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The positive samples came from two 3 ½-year-old whitetail bucks. Because of the result, DATCP has quarantined all 505 animals on the 1,597-acre ranch, meaning no live animals or whole carcasses are permitted to leave the property. The herd will remain under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by DATCP and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and staff.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk and moose caused by an infectious protein called a prion that affects the animal’s brain, and testing for CWD is typically only performed after the animal’s death. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement and permit requirements.