The Department of Natural Resources is expanding the Adopt-a-Dumpster and Adopt-a-Kiosk programs to offer more residents, organizations and businesses in the state the chance to support deer hunters having their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and help prevent the spread of the disease.

The DNR will now offer cost-sharing as an option for the Adopt-a-Dumpster (ADD) program for volunteers to sponsor a dumpster during the deer season. The main goal of the ADD program is to provide hunters an option for appropriate disposal of deer carcass waste, especially in areas where carcass disposal options are limited or not already available.

“The preferred disposal method is in a landfill that accepts deer carcass waste. This isn’t an option everywhere in the state,” said Tami Ryan, DNR’s acting director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. “This year we want to expand the program, and we have identified department funding to leverage this year, including funds for cost-sharing options with participants who may not want to pay 100% of the costs as participants did last year.”

The preference is for AAD locations to be on private land. However, options are available for individuals or groups to host dumpster locations on public land in consultation with the DNR. The collected waste is then hauled to an appropriate landfill.

Proper disposal of deer carcass waste is a major factor in containing the spread of CWD. The DNR is committed to providing safe, convenient disposal options to hunters, especially in areas where options are limited or unavailable.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease of deer, elk moose and reindeer that is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions cause brain degeneration in infected animals and lead to extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. This always fatal disease was first found in Wisconsin in 2002 through testing of hunter-harvested deer in November 2001. There are currently 56 CWD affected counties across the state.

CWD can be spread among deer by both direct contact between animals and indirectly through exposure to environments contaminated with CWD prions, the protein that causes the disease. Exposure to an area where a CWD-positive carcass has decomposed could be enough to cause infection in deer. Because of this risk, it is vital that deer carcasses, including all bones and other deer carcass waste from butchering, are disposed of in a way to reduce this infection risk.

“Last deer season volunteers stepped up to host 16 AAD locations around Wisconsin, helping local hunters to find a much-needed deer carcass waste disposal option in their area,” Ryan said. “About 150,000 pounds of deer carcass waste was collected. The AAD dumpsters are an essential piece of CWD management.”

The DNR is also looking to expand the Adopt-a-Kiosk (AAK) program which works with volunteers to make CWD sampling more convenient for hunters. The kiosks not only enhance the hunter experience they can also help with reaching CWD sampling goals by the conveniences they provide.

AAK participants can choose the level of involvement that fits their schedule. Options range from frequent monitoring to data collection to building a kiosk. The DNR provides all kiosk CWD sampling supplies and asks participants to follow guidelines associated with their level of involvement. The kiosks are set up as self-service 24/7 options for dropping off your deer head with a hand-width length of the neck to be tested for CWD.

“There were two Adopt-a-Kiosk locations for our pilot program last year. We hope to have many more this deer season,” Ryan said. “We greatly appreciate those individuals and groups that assisted the DNR with valuable sampling and disposal options for hunters, making the first year of AAD and AAK a success.”

Participants in both programs are responsible for all costs associated with the adoption of dumpsters and kiosks as a donation (with the exception for those enrolled in cost-sharing for dumpsters are responsible for their share), and for following program guidelines. Volunteers will receive DNR recognition and a certificate of appreciation at the end of the season.

Visit the DNR website for more information about the Adopt-a-Dumpster and Adopt-a-Kiosk programs and how best you can get involved.

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