- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The spread of chronic wasting disease among Wisconsin’s deer herd has long been a concern, but apparently hunters are not all that uneasy about eating tainted venison.

Although the disease is related to incurable illnesses that cause dementia and death in humans, it hasn’t crossed the species line and most hunters don’t take advantage of free testing offered by the state, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/2f89PHF ) reported. Only a few thousand of the 300,000 or more deer harvested each year are tested.

In the months leading up to deer hunting season, which starts Saturday, more hunters have expressed concerns about how the disease will affect the herd. But Larry Bonde, a Manitowoc farmer who serves as chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, said there’s no indication testing will become more popular this year.

“There are people who know the deer they shot have CWD and they don’t care, and others who aren’t anywhere near the CWD areas and they test everything,” Bonde said.

The state Department of Health Services advises people to refrain from eating venison from deer that test positive for CWD or show signs of illness.

The department has tracked cases of prion diseases and compares them to a registry of people who eat venison, but no matches have been found, said agency spokeswoman Jennifer Miller.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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