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Tuesday, January 30 • 11:20am - 11:40am
UNGULATES: Pilot Testing a Program to Allow Hunters to Sample Their Own Deer for CWD

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AUTHORS. Ben Beardmore, Julie Widholm - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. In 2016 the Wisconsin DNR explored the feasibility of providing CWD self-sampling as a viable method that would allow hunters to sample their own deer. Fifty-two hunters with a history of having their deer tested for CWD enrolled in the pilot during the archery season, with 14 participants ultimately extracting and returning a sample. We administered a web survey to each participant within a week of returning their sample to evaluate the tools and supplies provided in the kit, clarity of instructional materials, experience of sampling lymph nodes from a harvested deer, and ease and convenience of shipping the sample. We also asked respondents to provide general observations and opinions about the feasibility of implementing such a program on a wider scale. Recognizing that targeting only successful participants would bias our evaluation, a separate follow up survey was emailed to all participants who had not returned a sample by the end of deer season. In addition to the questions asked of successful participants, this survey also identified reasons that the participant did not return their tissue sample. In all, 30 participants responded to the surveys.All the samples returned through the pilot contained the correct lymph tissue and were able to be tested. Most hunters who did not return tissue samples reported harvesting a deer; however, they ultimately found taking their deer to a sampling station to be easier or more convenient than sampling the deer themselves. Most respondents recommended expanding the option of self-sampling to all Wisconsin deer hunters, and indicated they would be willing to pay a nominal fee to cover a portion of the costs for the self-sampling kit. With that information, the pilot project has entered its second year, this time focusing on a more diverse group of hunters, including those who have never had their deer tested before, in parts of the state where access to sampling stations is more limited.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am CST