Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer
Detailed CWD Timeline
- 1967 Deer begin dying from a mystery disease at Foothills
Wildlife Research Facility, Fort Collins, Colorado. In 1980 the
illness is identified as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
- 1981 Colorado - First wild elk with CWD found in Larimer
County, Colorado. Disease begins spreading into the northeast
corner of the state. (http://www.wildlife.state.co.us/CWD)
- 1986 Wyoming - An elk in southeastern Wyoming is the first
wild animal to test CWD positive there. By 2001 10% of Wyoming deer
- 1996 Saskatchewan game farm found to be infected with
- 1997 South Dakota game farm tests positive for CWD. Within
a year two more farms are infested.
- 1998 Nebraska - Game farm in Cherry County, Nebraska has
CWD. First in the state. ttp://www.ngpc.state.ne.us/wildlife/guides/cwd/cwd.asp
- 1998 Saskatchewan - Second Saskatchewan game farm has
- June 1998 Oklahoma - A game farm in Oklahoma County,
Oklahoma reports outbreak of CWD.
- 1999 Montana - Animals from a game farm near Philipsburg,
Montana test CWD positive.
- 1999 Wisconsin begins testing deer for CWD, fearing game
farm have imported CWD exposed elk.
- Mar 2000- Jul 2001 Saskatchewan - CWD concerns cause
Saskatchewan game officials to slaughter 4,600 elk at 29 game
- Fall 2000 Nebraska's first wild mule deer with CWD is
killed by a hunter in Kimball County.
- April 2001 Saskatchewan confirms first wild mule deer with
CWD near Lloydminster. Two more positive tests follow.
- September 2001 The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture declares a
CWD emergency and begins creating a plan to eradicate it in game
farm and in the wild.
- October 2001 Colorado - Eleven Colorado game farms placed
under CWD quarantine. 450 elk from these game farms had been
shipped to game farms in 15 states.
- December 2001 Kansas - Game farm in Anthony, Kansas
reports states first case of CWD from an elk purchased from one of
the now quarantined Colorado farms. (http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/hunting/cwdsites.html)
- December 2001 Nebraska - Game farm in Souix County,
Nebraska is CWD infected. Its whitetails test 43% positive.
- February 2002 South Dakota reports first case of CWD in
- March 2002 Colorado finishes slaughtering 1,600 game farm
elk from the 2001 quarantine.
- March 2002 Wisconsin reports three deer taken during 2001
season were CWD positive.
- April 2002 Wisconsin shoots 506 deer in the infected area
and tests them for CWD. 14 are CWD positive.
- May 2002 Wisconsin prepares to eradicate 15,000 deer in a
287 square mile area to stop the spread of CWD.
- May 2002 Colorado - Two more cases of CWD have been found
inside an elk ranch in southwestern Routt County, Colorado
- May 16, 2003 Michigan - Bans the supplemental feeding of
deer in every Michigan county.
- May 23, 2002 Wisconsin - Four more deer near Mount Horeb
tested positive for CWD. One of the deer was killed outside of the
eradication zone, so the zone will be expanded by 74 square miles.
The tests initially came back negative, but additional tests of the
lymph nodes were done, and those tests showed infection. That
suggests that the deer were in the earlier stages of infection,
than those whose brain stems show infection.
- June 17, 2002 Wisconsin - A total of 262 deer were killed
in the first week in an effort to kill 25,000 deer. There are three
more 1-week hunts planned before bow season opens. Landowners shot
170 deer and sharpshooters killed 92.
- June 21,2002 New Mexico - A mule deer from white Sands
Missile Range, Albuquerque, New Mexico has tested positive for CWD.
It is the first case verified in this state. Game officials are
banning the importation of deer and elk.
- June26, 2002 Wisconsin - The Wisconsin State Natural
Resources board voted 6-1 in favor of a number of measures they
hope will stop the spread of CWD. The most controversial is the
banning of feeding and baiting deer until June 2004.
- August 3, 2002 Wisconsin - 6 more cases of CWD have been
found in the 261 deer tested from the special hunt June 8 to June
14 in Wisconsin. Two of the deer killed were near the boundary of
the current zone so the DNR is going to extend the zone by 13
square miles to 374 square miles.
- August 31, 2002 Wisconsin - Seven more deer out of 336
that were shot in the special season in July tested positive.
Another 15 square miles was added to the eradication zone.
- August 2002 Minnesota - found its first CWD case in an elk
that was part of a farm raised herd in Aitkin County. Minnesota
plans to immediately kill and test wild deer in the vicinity of the
- October 15, 2002 Wisconsin - Out of 669 deer tested on
Wisconsin game farms only one has tested positive for CWD. A panel
of experts at UW Madison has determined that by leaving the disease
alone will only fan its distribution.
- October 18, 2002 Wisconsin - 9 more wild deer tested and 1
doe on a second game farm tested positive for CWD. That brings the
total to 40 deer that have tested positive in the eradication zone
west of Madison. Wardens want to inspect 590 deer farms by the end
of the year, by checking fences and in some cases checking the
financial records of the sales and purchases of deer.
- November 3, 2002 Illinois - Wildlife officials have
confirmed the first known case of CWD in deer in Illinois. A deer
was shot Oct. 23 just east of Roscoe near the Wisconsin border. http://dnr.state.il.us/CWD
- November 5, 2002 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
will spend about $500,000 to commission a study whether CWD can
jump from deer to other species.
- December 4, 2002 Wisconsin - CWD has been discovered for
the first time in a wild deer outside the eradication zone. A
3-year-old buck shot in Grant County during the gun hunt tested
positive for the disease.
- December 7, 2002 Wisconsin - Early results have shown that
CWD has not spread beyond an area near Mount Horeb. The DNR has
tested 662 deer shot in the 10 county zone that surrounds the
eradication zone. None has tested positive.
- December 13, 2002 Wisconsin - All 118 deer on a deer farm
in Walworth County were killed by federal sharpshooters. All of the
deer will be tested for CWD. A deer tested positive on Sept. 30 for
the disease so a decision was made to test the rest of the deer.
The oldest deer on the farm were about 15 years old.
- December 14, 2002 Wisconsin - A deer that escaped from the
Walworth County farm and roamed freely for at least six months has
tested positive. The deer was shot by sharpshooters on Oct. 22. It
is the first known escaped deer in Wisconsin to test positive. So
far no wild deer have tested positive for the disease outside of
the eradication zone.
- December 22, 2002 Wisconsin - The states latest round of
testing revealed no new cases of CWD in the wild. 5,045 deer have
been tested from outside the quarantine area and none were
infected. The state will be testing a total of 37, 938 deer from
this falls hunt.
- December 2002 Illinois has reported a total of 4
positives, all in counties bordering Wisconsin.
- December 29,2002 Wisconsin - 73 more deer were tested and
none were positive.
- January 4, 2003 Wisconsin - 7, 785 deer have been tested
so far. 50 have tested positive and they are from Dane and Iowa
counties. So far it looks like the disease hasn't spread beyond the
eradication zone. A private lab has reported that 3 deer it
examined tested positive; however, state official's have disputed
the accuracy of the lab's tests.
- January 8, 2003 Wisconsin - State officials decided
Tuesday to allow baiting in the hot zone, to extend the season to
March 31, and to bring in government sharpshooters. So far only
8,000 of the estimated 30,000 deer in that area have been killed.
The 8,000 deer killed is equivalent to a yearly fawn crop in the
area. Wildlife biologists say that 10,000 to 12,000 deer must be
harvested to get the density down to 20 to 25 deer per square mile.
The agency is considering paying a bounty to landowners for every
deer killed, but funding and liability issues may scuttle
- January 9, 2003 Wisconsin - Stanley Hall, owner of
Buckhorn Flats game farm is going to court to block the state from
killing the animals. The first captive animal to test positive came
from the game farm. Hall said he retained some of the brain tissue
and had it tested at a Wyoming lab, which found no evidence of the
disease. Calls to the DNR were not returned yet. State law allows
for a second test if the initial test is positive. The DNR killed
all 118 deer on the game farm of James Hirschboek after one deer
tested positive. The Hirschboek farm came under suspicion after
authorities traced his purchase of deer from Hall.
- January 11, 2003 Wisconsin - Five infected deer were found
outside the hot zone, 1 in Richland County and 4 in western Iowa
County. The new cases were still inside the management zone, which
extends 40 miles beyond the area where the disease was first
detected. The deer in Richland County was killed 16 miles from the
hot zone boundary and the Iowa County deer were up to 12 miles from
the boundary. So far 9,064 deer have been tested.
- January 18, 2003 Wisconsin - State agencies have spent
about $11.5 million on CWD in Wisconsin. The estimate includes the
salaries of wildlife experts who have devoted their time to the
problem. That figure means the state has spent the equivalent of
$209,000 for each of the 55 deer that tested positive. $1.1 million
was spent last fall to collect thousand of deer heads from hunters
across the state, and about $1.6 million was spent disposing of the
- February 2, 2003 Wisconsin - 3 more deer test positive in
the hot zone. 1,390 new samples were analyzed last week. So far
13,977 deer have been tested which is 36% of the deer that will be
tested. 2.21% of the deer in the hot zone have tested positive. In
the broader 10 county management zone 5 deer have tested positive
an incidence of 0.9%.
- February 8, 2003 Wisconsin - With 16, 119 or 41% of the
results in the DNR said that no new cases were found in the last
- February 15, 2003 Wisconsin - With 18,838 deer tested
there were no new cases of CWD.
- February 18, 2003 Utah - A buck deer taken by a hunter in
northeastern Utah has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
(CWD). "The Division of Wildlife Resources has been looking for
Chronic Wasting Disease in Utah since 1998," said Jim Karpowitz,
big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
The positive sample came from a mature buck deer taken this fall on
Diamond Mountain, just north of Vernal.
- March 9, 2003 Wisconsin - With 26,232 deer tested 62 have
tested positive. 33 from Dane County, 27 from Iowa County, 1 from
Richland County and 1 from Sauk County. The testing of almost
40,000 deer is the most comprehensive of any state. The incidence
rate in the hot zone is 1.9%.
- March 15, 2003 Wisconsin - Two new cases of CWD were found
out of 2,055 more deer tested. The two deer that tested positive
came out of Dane County. A total of 64 deer have tested positive.
28,287 deer have been tested.
- March 20, 2003 Wisconsin - State finds violations and lax
record keeping at many sites. A state inspection of private
deer farms, prompted by the discovery of CWD, found that 436 game
farm white-tailed deer escaped into the wild. A summary of
the findings of the Department of Natural Resources' inspection of
550 private white-tailed deer farms in the state: The deer farms
contained at least 16,070 deer, but the DNR believes there are more
deer in captivity than that because large deer farms are unable to
accurately count their deer. 671 deer had escaped from game farms,
including 436 that were never found. 24 farmers were unlicensed.
One had been operating illegally since 1999 after he was denied a
license because his deer fence did not meet minimum specifications.
Records maintained by operators ranged from "meticulous
documentation to relying on memory." At least 227 farms conducted
various portions of their deer farm business with cash. Over the
last three years, 1,222 deer died on farms for various reasons.
Disease testing was not performed nor required on the majority of
deer. Farmers reported doing business with people in 22 other
states and one Canadian province. DNR found that captive deer have
escaped from one-third of the state's 550 deer farms over the
lifetime of the operations. The agency also uncovered hundreds of
violations and has sought a total of 60 citations or charges
against deer farm operators. These and other findings come as state
officials say they are still no closer to understanding how the
fatal deer disease got to Wisconsin. http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/mar03/126571.asp
- March 21, 2003 Utah - An adult female deer from
southeastern Utah has tested positive for chronic wasting
disease. The deer had been acting sick, so when it died, its
carcass was submitted for testing according to our CWD surveillance
protocol, said Alan Clark, Wildlife Section chief for the Utah
Division of Wildlife Resources. The deer died on April 22, 2003 in
an agricultural field on the west side of the LaSal Mountains in
southeastern Utah, about ten miles from Moab. Total Utah
positives - 2.
- March 24,2003 Wisconsin - 16 new cases were found in the
latest round of testing. 2,574 deer were analyzed this week. A
total of 80 deer have tested positive.
- March 26, 2003 Wisconsin - CWD has been found in a
farm-raised elk in Manitowoc County, marking the first time in
Wisconsin that it has been found in an animal other than a deer.
The 6-year-old female elk, one of 20 imported by a Valders elk
farmer from Stearns County, Minn. tested positive after dying in a
fight with another elk. One elk died earlier and was not tested.
The remaining 18 elk were killed for testing. 6 game farms imported
elk from Minn. and all are quarantined since Sept. when the Minn.
game farm had an elk that tested positive.
- March 30, 2003 Wisconsin - 14 more deer test positive
bringing the total to 94. All were killed within the three county
eradication zone. The DNR figures about 2% of the deer in that area
are infected. CWD jeopardizes the state's $1 billion hunting
- April 5, 2003 Wisconsin - 36 new cases were found in the
latest round of testing. 2655 samples were tested this week. That
brings the total to 130 infected deer out of 35,196 deer tested.
40,002 deer will be tested for the last season.
- April 19, 2003 Wisconsin - 49 more deer were found with
CWD, all within the hot zone. That brings the total number of
infected deer to 190 or about 2% of the deer tested in that area.
39,012 of the 40,111 deer have been tested. Of the diseased deer,
99 were in Iowa County, 89 were in Dane County, 1 in each in
Richland and Sauk Counties.
- May 3, 2003 Wisconsin - With all 41, 046 deer tested