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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting public meetings in Cresco and Decorah to discuss the upcoming deer hunting season and new monitoring efforts for chronic wasting disease.
Cresco meetings are scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 2-3:30 p.m., and from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Expo Center on the Howard County Fairgrounds, 220 Seventh Street SW, in Cresco. The same information will be presented at both meetings.
The Decorah meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Valders Hall of Science, Room 206, at Luther College.
Winneshiek and Howard counties are part of an enhanced chronic wasting disease focus effort near areas in Iowa and Minnesota where wild deer have tested positive for the always fatal disease. The Iowa DNR is encouraging hunters who harvest a deer to provide a tissue sample.
Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR who is leading the effort to combat CWD, is coordinating the meeting.
“We will discuss the increased surveillance effort and how hunters can help us just by doing what they do – hunting deer,” Haindfield said. “This meeting will also allow hunters and landowners an opportunity to get their questions answered and to discuss their concerns with our staff.”
The Iowa DNR will present information on CWD, inform the public about increased surveillance sampling of deer, and request help from deer hunters for tissue samples during the upcoming fall and winter deer seasons.
There are several things hunters can do to stop or slow the spread of CWD, Haindfield said, including not leaving the deer carcass on the landscape or using feed or salt-mineral to attract deer.
“The first and most important hunters can do is to allow sampling of hunter harvested deer,” he said. “Deer hunting is an important tradition and, for some, a large part of their identity. It is also important to us and we need to work together to combat this disease. Our goal is to provide quality deer hunting for future generations.”
CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.
The Iowa DNR has more information about CWD and other infectious disease online at www.iowadnr.gov/cwd.
Any person attending the public meeting and has special requirements such as those related to mobility or hearing impairments should contact the DNR or ADA Coordinator at 515-725-8200, Relay Iowa TTY Service 800-735-7942, or Webmaster@dnr.iowa.gov, and advise of specific needs.