CEDAR RAPIDS — Deer hunters are being encouraged to help monitor and track the presence of chronic wasting disease by allowing the Iowa DNR to collect tissues samples from those they shoot, especially deer harvested in northeast Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’s wildlife staff has a goal of collecting 5,465 samples. So far, the department’s effort is running ahead of the pace in previous years, according to Terry Haindfield, DNR wildlife biologist who is leading the CWD collection effort

“We’ve had really good cooperation from our hunters, so our focus now is collecting samples from some pretty specific areas within our target counties in order to reach our quotas,” he said.

All counties have a quota of at least 15 samples, with higher quotas in portions of northeast and Eastern Iowa near Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois; in counties bordering the Missouri River west of Interstate 29; and south-central Iowa near Missouri — areas where CWD has been detected.

“We’ve had really good cooperation from our hunters, so our focus now is collecting samples from some pretty specific areas within our target counties in order to reach our quotas,” Haindfield said.

In northeast Iowa, the DNR is looking for samples from deer harvested from the southeast quarter of Allamakee County, the northwest quarter of Clayton County, the northwest quarter of Winneshiek County and the northeast quarter of Howard County.

“Hunters willing to provide a sample should call their local wildlife biologist to see if the county or area where the deer was taken has filled its quota or is still in need of a sample,” he said.

Hunters from the targeted areas needing additional help may contact Haindfield at (563) 380-3422 and he will connect them with local field staff.

The bulk of Iowa’s deer harvest occurs during the two shotgun seasons, which provide an opportunity to collect a significant number of tissue samples. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points.

The Iowa DNR has more information about CWD and other infectious disease online at www.iowadnr.gov/cwd.

The 2017 Iowa deer harvest is running 4.5 percent ahead of the 2016 totals. So far this fall, 55,793 deer have been reported, compared to 53,191 for the same period last year.

Iowa’s 2017 deer hunting options enter the late stages with the second shotgun season Dec. 9-17, followed by the late muzzleloader season and archery season, both of which are Dec. 18 to Jan. 10, 2018.

Comments: 319-398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com.

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