The scope of Chronic Wasting Disease among mainly white-tailed deer was the focus of a forum last week in Mole Lake.
The forum was sponsored by the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Community. A presenter was DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Director Eric Lobner. He outlined the disease spread since it was first discovered in southwestern Wisconsin 15 years ago. He says they've collected more than 200,000 samples in that time. He says the vast majority of the positive samples have been in southern Wisconsin with five samples testing positive in central and with one in Washburn county.
Lobner says since 2002, the time to process a deer sample for CWD has dramatically shortened...
"....to run the sample for the individual hunter or landowner, it took us 95 days. Now we are down to 10 days. We've save a significant amount of days getting those test results back...."
Wayne LaBine of Mole Lake is a Voight Task Force member as part of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
He says the possibility of a growing number of sick deer is a threat to the traditional ways tribal members depend on...
"....what it would do to the tourism industry, what it would do to us culturally if we are limited to what we could do from harvesting deer from the treaty areas. I also want to protect our people to make sure they are aware what is going on...."
Also involved was the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection, who regulates deer farms. Chairman Chris McGeshick said they want to get more information to the public about the problem.
A deer farm in Three Lakes has had CWD positive deer.