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A look at chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin

September 24, 2002 Associated Press
A chronology of chronic wasting disease as it relates to Wisconsin:

1967 - The disease is recognized in the United States as causing deer and elk to grow thin and die. Over the years, it is found in wild deer and elk in northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming and Nebraska. It is also diagnosed in captive elk in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

Fall 1999 - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources begins testing for the disease by sampling about 400 deer shot by hunters each fall. Feb. 28, 2002 - The DNR announces that three bucks shot the previous November near Mount Horeb tested positive for the disease, the first time it has been found east of the Mississippi River.

March 14 - A special hunt begins to kill 500 deer in a 415-square-mile area of Dane and Iowa counties around Mount Horeb to find out how far the disease has spread.

April 24 - DNR reports 11 of the 516 deer killed in the special hunt were infected with the disease, suggesting 3 percent of the herd was infected.

April 29 - DNR Secretary Darrell Bazzell says the state cannot guarantee hunters it is safe to eat the deer they kill this year because of the presence of chronic wasting disease in the herd.

April 30 - Gov. Scott McCallum sends a letter asking Wisconsin's congressional delegation to fight for $18.5 million in federal money to battle the disease.

May 1 - The DNR announces a plan to kill all deer in a 285-square-mile area covering parts of Dane, Iowa and Sauk counties to try to eradicate the disease from the herd or at least slow its spread.

May 10 - McCallum tells a meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress that chronic wasting disease is the "most serious animal health crisis in our history." He calls a special legislative session on proposals to help fight the disease.

May 10 - Citizens Against Irrational Deer Slaughter announces its opposition to the DNR's plan to deal with the disease.

May 16 - The Legislature allocates up to $4 million and grants wildlife officials new powers to battle the disease.

May 22 - The DNR reports 18 deer have tested positive for the disease. The agency expands to 361 square miles the area where it wants all deer killed and announces four weeklong summer hunts to begin the process.

June 14 - The first summer hunt ends, with hunters and government sharpshooters killing 262 deer.

June 25 - The Natural Resources Board bans the feeding and baiting of deer statewide and requires hunters to shoot an antlerless deer before they could qualify to shoot a buck during the fall hunting season in the deer eradication zone.

June 27 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces it will not certify any private laboratories in Wisconsin to test for chronic wasting disease.

July 1 - The DNR says it will test at least 40,000 deer shot by hunters this fall in all of Wisconsin's 72 counties to find out if the disease exists elsewhere. The sample is to include about 500 deer from each county.

July 10 - A DNR administrator says hunters may have unknowingly transported the fatal brain disease to other Wisconsin counties, and the protein that causes the disease got dumped in the environment. Based onhunting license records, including bonus tags issued, the agency knows that over the past six years, people from every county have hunted in the area where diseased deer were found.

Aug. 2 - A top DNR investigator says it could take years before it's known exactly how the first deer in Wisconsin was infected with the disease.

Aug. 30 - Testing finds seven more deer with chronic wasting disease and DNR enlarges so-called eradication zone to 389 square miles.

Sept. 13 - Hunters kill 539 deer during the final summer hunt.

Sept. 19 - The state Agriculture Department reports a deer killed on a Portage County private hunting preserve Sept. 4 had chronic wasting disease, the first case of the disease in the state's captive deer herd. The preserve is quarantined as are two other deer farms in Walworth County.

Sept. 23 - The state says it is looking into other farms but hasn't quarantined any more. Names of owners of quarantined farms are released, along with locations of Almond in Portage County, Delavan in Walworth County and Eagle in Waukesha County.

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