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Deer Disease Monitoring in Iowa

The Iowa DNR actively monitors diseases affecting deer in the state. The primary diseases that are monitored include Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Hemorrhagic Disease/Bluetongue (HD), and Bovine Tuberculosis (TB). The pathology and disease ecology of each have vastly different consequences for deer management.

More information regarding the major differences between EHD and CWD can be found on the Quality Deer Management Association's website.


We cannot fight this battle alone, we need your help.

  • Do not use feed or salt-mineral licks to attract deer. These baited sites increase the concentration of deer, which spreads the disease.
     
  • Do not leave a carcass or bones to decay on the land. Disposal with residential waste is permissible. Contact your local waste hauler for requirements. Make absolutely sure not to transport and dump carcasses outside of the area where the deer were shot as this will spread the disease to new areas.
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Additional Information, Deer Diseases
+ Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease / Bluetongue (HD)
+ Tuberculosis (TB)
+ Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk. An abnormal protein, called a prion, attacks the brains of infected animals causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs of CWD in deer include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head. It is always fatal to the infected animal. Anyone seeing a deer exhibiting these symptoms should immediately contact the DNR. 

CWD can be transferred from deer to deer via direct contact and contact with bodily fluids. Therefore, prevalence and spread increase with deer density. However, abnormal protein prions that are shed from CWD positive deer can persist in the environment for many years, which can additionally infect deer. As a result, disease prevalence is also independent of deer density. There is currently no viable vaccine. Consequently, once a wild deer herd has become infected, removal is nearly impossible and increased prevalence is extremely likely. Deer management strategies generally have focused on mitigating the prevalence and spread of the disease via population reduction or some form of isolating or quarantining infected areas. Recent research in Wyoming has found that CWD has been documented to have strong population-level effects.

Population-level effect article:
Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer (off-site)

Testing for the CWD protein is not a food safety test. Currently it is not believed that humans can contract CWD by eating venison; however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, when hunting in areas with CWD, strongly consider having the deer tested for CWD before you eat the meat. If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat that animal. For further recommendations, refer to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under Iowa law, hunters cannot transport into the state the whole carcass of any cervid (i.e., deer, elk, moose) taken from a CWD-infected area. Only the boned-out meat, the cape, and antlers attached to a clean skull plate (from which all brain tissue has been removed) are legal to transport into Iowa. 


 


Deer Management Zones: Chronic Wasting Disease

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has established deer management zones in areas where wild deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

Chronic wasting disease is spread through direct contact between deer, and through urine, blood, feces and saliva left on the landscape where it remains infectious for years. This disease is 100 percent fatal. Infected deer may not display symptoms.

The new deer management zone allows hunters an additional opportunity to pursue deer while assisting the Iowa DNR with collecting valuable data. Each zone has a quota of 350 antlerless licenses specific to the area, in addition to any exiting county quota.

There are a few stipulations hunters agree to when purchasing these licenses:

  1. Licenses are good only in the zone, not county wide
  2. Hunters must take a deer to the local check station or call the number on the zone map to arrange for sample collection.
  3. Successful hunters must provide a tissue sample

Hunters with county specific or general deer licenses may hunt in these zones without the stipulations, but are encouraged to provide tissue samples.


Zone license: Hunters may purchase Dubuque Zone licenses locally at Bait Shack, 563-582-9395 or Tri State Outdoors, 563-582-8514; or at the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines.
Zone map: Dubuque: Deer Management Zone Map
Check Station: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7-11, 14-15, 21-22, and Jan. 11-12
Swiss Valley Nature Center, 13606 Swiss Valley Road, Peosta
Dumpster onsite, email questions to DubuqueCWD@dnr.iowa.gov
Tissue Collection: Successful hunters must call 563-543-7120 to arrange for tissue sample collection.

 

 

Zone license: Hunters may purchase Elkader Zone licenses locally at Elkader Coast-to-Coast, 563-245-2521, or at the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines.
Zone map: Elkader: Deer Management Zone Map
Check Station: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7-11, 14-15, 21-22, and Jan. 11-12
Osborne Park, 29862 Osborne Road, Elkader
Dumpster onsite, email questions to ClaytonCWD@dnr.iowa.gov
Tissue Collection: Successful hunters must call 563-349-7511 to arrange for tissue sample collection.

 

 

 

Zone license: Hunters may purchase Harpers Ferry Zone licenses locally in Harpers Ferry at Barry’s Minimart, in Harpers Ferry, 563-586-2281, Donahue's One Stop, 563-586-2557; in Lansing, River N Ridge Outdoors, 563-538-4188; or at the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines.
Zone map: Harpers Ferry: Deer Management Zone Map
Check Station: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7-11, 14-15, 21-22, and Jan. 11-12
DNR Office, 427 N. First Street, Harpers Ferry
Dumpster onsite, email questions to AllamakeeCWD@dnr.iowa.gov
Tissue Collection: Successful hunters must call 563-349-7550 to arrange for tissue sample collection.

 

 

 

Zone license: Hunters may purchase Corydon Zone licenses locally at the Corydon Hy-Vee, 641-872-1564, T/K Guns, 641-873-4755, or Wayne County Recorder's Office, 641-872-1676;  or Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines.
Zone map: Corydon: Deer Management Zone Map
Check Station: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7-11, 14-15, 21-22, and Jan. 11-12
Corydon Volunteer Fire Station, 213 S Washington Street, Corydon
Dumpster nearby, email questions to WayneCWD@dnr.iowa.gov
Tissue Collection: Successful hunters must call 641-208-5411 to arrange for tissue sample collection.

 

 

 

 

The Sioux City priority area does not currently have special zone specific deer licenses for sale or a staffed check station. The intent of the Sioux City priority zone is to increase the number of tissue samples collected, not necessarily the number of deer harvested. Hunters who harvest a deer are encouraged to call 712-420-5584 to arrange for sample collection.

 

Sioux City Deer Management Zone Map