Wisconsin Wildlife Project
Chronic Wasting Disease management in the Midwest
September 2020 - August 2023
- US Geological Survey
Wildlife management agencies have historically applied a variety of disease control strategies to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD; a fatal disease of deer, elk and moose), but manipulation of harvest regulations has been the primary tool used to reduce density and presumably slow the spread of CWD. Despite the wide spread use of harvest as a CWD management tool, rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of harvest regulations to significantly change deer harvest and CWD risk has not been conducted, owing to the difficulty in measuring the impacts of varying harvest approaches within a single jurisdiction. This project is a collaboration between the USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A critical examination of the impact of harvest regulations on harvest and CWD dynamics will be done and will be used to guide a regional application of adaptive management strategies for wildlife agencies to coordinate disease mitigation efforts.