DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is again collecting samples from deer hunters this year to try and keep a handle on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The DNR’s Tyler Harms oversees the program. “Obviously, we are putting more effort into the areas where we know we have the disease in the wild. And those areas include ten counties across the state. Six counties in northeast Iowa, three counties in south-central Iowa, and then one county in western Iowa,” Harms says.
He says they will also take samples from the other 89 counties. “So even if you are not in one of those C-W-D affected areas — we still recommend contacting your local D-N-R staff to submit a sample,” he says.
Harms says the samples help them stay on top of where the hotspots are. “In recent years we’ve been collecting anywhere from five to six thousand samples statewide,” Harms says.
Harms credits hunters with cooperating and providing enough samples for an accurate picture of what is happening in the deer population. “We are one of the few states in the midwest that still relies entirely on voluntary samples from our hunters,” according to Harms. “Many other states have moved toward mandatory sampling, which makes it legally required to submit samples for CWD in most areas in their states. The fact that we can sustain the samples that we have collected over the years with contributions from our hunters is really a testament to the fantastic group of hunters that we have, I think.”
The first shotgun deer season has just wrapped up and the second season will start this Saturday.