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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be hosting a virtual meeting on Dec. 3, 2020 at 12 p.m., to discuss the status of chronic wasting disease in Iowa. The meeting will be broadcast via Facebook Live at facebook.com/IowaDNR to provide Iowans the opportunity to ask questions. To attend via Zoom, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87404715461?pwd=TjZhanI2NjlGQzM2em42T0xiRkQ0QT09 and enter the passcode: CWD2020!
The meeting will be recorded and available for viewing after the meeting on the Iowa DNR YouTube channel after the event is over and the video is outfitted with closed captioning.
Typically, the Iowa DNR would host in-person public meetings to provide citizens the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. However, a virtual meeting can get information out to a broader audience while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
Tyler Harms, deer program leader for the Iowa DNR, encourages hunters to either attend this meeting or watch the recorded presentation, especially if they plan to hit the field for the upcoming shotgun seasons.
“We feel it is important for hunters to be armed with information on this disease as we enter our most popular deer hunting seasons of the year,” he said.
Harms said that testing harvested deer is one of the best and easiest ways hunters can help the DNR monitor the spread of the disease.
“Our surveillance program relies heavily on voluntary samples from hunters, and we encourage anyone interested in helping with this effort to contact your local DNR wildlife unit if you are interested in getting your deer tested, especially those hunting in counties where chronic wasting disease has been found,” Harms said.
Since 2013, the fatal disease has been found in wild deer in eight Iowa counties, including Allamakee, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette, and Dubuque in the northeast, Wayne and Decatur in the south, and Woodbury in the west. The Iowa DNR has tested nearly 85,000 tissue samples from wild deer for chronic wasting disease since monitoring began in 2002. So far, there have been 91 positive tests.
Each year the DNR collects deer tissue samples from every county in Iowa, with efforts focused on portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, south-central Iowa near Missouri, and along the Missouri River near Nebraska where the disease has been detected. Additional testing has been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo, Van Buren, and Davis counties, following positive tests from captive facilities. All counties have at least 15 samples collected annually. The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.
“Deer hunting is an important tradition for many Iowans, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to monitor and slow the spread of this disease to maintain a healthy deer herd for future generations,” Harms said.
The Iowa DNR has more information about chronic wasting disease and other infectious diseases online at www.iowadnr.gov/cwd.