Five decades have passed since chronic wasting disease reared its ugly, mysterious head. For the first forty years, the disease seemed to be little more than an oddity, a strange affliction that affected a handful of mule deer, elk, and whitetails out West. It was an annoyance, not an epidemic. Then, in 2002, it was discovered in wild whitetails in Wisconsin, and things got real. Suddenly, CWD acquired a new level of focus and potential devastation that has taken on an outsize role among those who value whitetails.