VerCauteren, Kurt

Dr. Kurt C. VerCauteren

Dr. Kurt C. VerCauteren
Research Wildlife Biologist/Project Leader

Dr. Kurt VerCauteren conducts research to create novel means of managing the diseases and damage of deer and elk to protect American agriculture. His current research involves addressing scientific questions that will lead to a better understanding of diseases of ungulates and to develop means to manage and control them. Many of his efforts are focused at the interface between free-ranging cervids and livestock.

NWRC Research Project: Management of Ungulate Disease and Damage


  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska
  • M.S., University of Nebraska
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Contact Information

Recent Publications


Berentsen, A.R., J.G. Garcia-Cancel, E.M. Diaz-Negron, O.A. Diaz-Marrero, A.R. Puente- Rolón, R.H. Reed, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Range expansion of an exotic invasive snake (Boa constrictor) in Puerto Rico. Herpetological Review 46:572    

Fischer, J.W., D. McMurtry, C.R. Blass, W.D. Walter, J. Beringer, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Effects of simulated removal activities on movements and space use of feral swine. European Journal of Wildlife Research 62:285.  doi: 10.1007/s10344-016-1000-6  

Nichols, T.A., T.R. Spraker, T. Gidlewski, B. Cummings, D. Hill, Q. Kong, A. Balachandran, K.C. VerCauteren, and M.D. Zabel. 2016. Dietary magnesium and copper affect survival time and neuroinflammation in chronic wasting disease. Prion 10(3):228-250.  doi:10.1080/19336896.2016.1181249  

Pepin, K.M., A.J. Davis, J. Beasley, R. Boughton, T. Campbell, S.M. Cooper, W. Gaston, S. Hartley, J.C. Kilgo, S.M. Wisely, C. Wyckoff, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Contact heterogeneities in feral swine: Implications for disease management and future research. Ecosphere 7(3):e01230.  doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1230  

Pepin, K.M. and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Disease-emergence dynamics and control in a socially-structured wildlife species. Scientific Reports 6:25150.  doi: 10.1038/srep25150  

Johnson, S.R., A.R. Berentsen, C. Ellis, A. Davis, and K.C. Vercauteren. 2016. Estimates of small Indian mongoose densities: Implications for rabies management. The Journal of Wildlife Management 80(1):37-47.   doi: 10.1002/jwmg.998  

Snow, N.P., J.M. Halseth, M.J. Lavelle, T.E. Hanson, C.R. Blass, J.A. Foster, S.T. Humphrys, L.D. Staples, D.G. Hewitt, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Bait preference of a free-ranging feral swine for delivery of a novel toxicant. PLoS One 11(1):e0146712.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146712  

Franklin, A.B. and K.C. VerCauteren. 2016. Keeping wildlife out of your food: Mitigation and control strategies to reduce the transmission risk of food-borne pathogens. In M. Jay-Russell and M. P. Doyle, editors. Food Safety Risks from Wildlife. Springer International Publishing. Pgs.183-199.  doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-24442-6_8


Nichols, T.A., J.W. Fischer, T.R. Spraker, Q. Kong, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. CWD prions remain infectious after passage through the digestive system of coyotes (Canis latrans). Prion 9(5):367-375. doi: 10.1080/19336896.2015.1086061  

Lavelle, M.J., C.R. Blass, J.W. Fischer, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.G. Hewitt, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Food habits of adult male white-tailed deer determined by camera collars. Wildlife Society Bulletin 39(3):651-657.  doi: 10.1002/wsb.556

Berentsen, A.R., S.R. Johnson, A.T. Gilbert, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Exposure to rabies in small Indian mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus) from two regions in Puerto Rico. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51(4):896-900.  doi:10.7589/2015-01-016

Berentsen, A. R., R.G. Garcia-Cancel, E.M. Diaz-Negron, O.A. Diaz-Marrero, R.N. Reed, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Boa constrictor : Geographic distribution: USA, Puerto Rico, Municipality of Cabo Rojo. Herpetological Review 46:572.

Spraker, T.R., T. Gidlewski, J.G. Powers, T. Nichols, A. Balachandran, B. Cummings, M.A. Wild, K. VerCauteren, and K.I. O'Rourke. 2015. Progressive accumulation of the abnormal conformer of the prion protein and spongiform encephalopathy in the obex of nonsymptomatic and symptomatic Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) with chronic wasting disease. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 27(4):431-441. doi: 10.1177/1040638715593368

Smyser, T.J., S.R. Johnson, M.D. Stallard, A.K. McGrew, L.K. Page, N. Crider, L.R. Ballweber, R.K. Swihart, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Evaluation of anthelmintic fishmeal polymer baits for the control of Baylisascaris procyonis in free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51(3):640-650. doi: 10.7589/2014-09-236

Lavelle, M.J., C.I.I.I. Henry, K. LeDoux, P.J. Ryan, J.W. Fischer, K.M. Pepin, C.R. Blass, M.P. Glow, S.E. Hygnstrom, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Deer response to exclusion from stored cattle feed in Michigan, USA. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 121(1-2):159-164. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.06.015

Stahl R.S., C.K. Ellis, P. Nol, W.R. Waters, M. Palmer, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2015. Fecal volatile organic compound profiles from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as indicators of Mycobacterium bovis exposure or Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination. PLoS ONE online 10.1371/journal.pone.0129740.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129740

VerCauteren, K.C. 2015. Threats to humans and beasts: Disease management and elimination.  International Innovation 176:60-62.

Wyckoff, A.C., N. Galloway, C. Meyerett-Reid, J. Powers, T. Spraker, R.J. Monello, B. Pulford, M. Wild, M. Antolin, K.VerCauteren, and M. Zabel. 2015. Prion amplification and hierarchical Bayesian modeling refine detection of prion infection. Scientific Reports 5:8358. doi:10.1038/srep08358

Salinas, R.A., W.H. Stiver, J.L. Corn, S.Lenhart, C. Collins, M. Madden, K.C. VerCauteren, B.B. Schmit, E. Kasari, A. Odoi, G. Hickling, and H. McCallum. 2015. An individual-based model for feral hogs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Natural Resource Modeling 28(1):18-36.  doi: 10.1111/nrm.12055

Beasley J.C., T.C. Atwood, M.E. Byrne, K.C. VerCauteren, S.R. Johnson, and O.E. Rhodes Jr. 2015. A behaviorally-explicit approach for delivering vaccine baits to mesopredators to control epizootics in fragmented landscapes. PLoS One 10(1):e0113206.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113206.


Hygnstrom, S.E., R.M. Timm, P.D. Curtis, D.L. Nolte, M.E. Tobin, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Prevention and control of wildlife damange, 5th edition. Proceedings of the 26th Vertebrate Pest Conference 26:440-442.  

VerCauteren, K., M. Lavelle, J. Landry, L. Marker, and T.M. Gehring. 2014. Use of dogs in the mediation of conservation conflicts. Proceedings of the 26th Vertebrate Pest Conference 26:411-412.  

Phillips, G.E., D.A. Goldade, K.C. VerCauteren, T.L. Ott, and D.C. Wagner. 2014. Iophenoxic acid and rhodamine B as biomarkers of bovine tuberculosis vaccine bait uptake by white-tailed deer. Proceedings of the 26th Vertebrate Pest Conference 26:328-330.  

Lavelle, M.J., G.E. Phillips, J.W. Fischer, P.W. Burke, N.W. Seward, R.S. Stahl, T.A. Nichols, B.A. Wunder, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Mineral licks: motivational factors for visitation and accompanying disease risk at communal use sites of elk and deer.  Environmental Geochemistry and Health 36(6):1049-1061.   doi: 10.1007/s10653-014-9600-0  

Foster, J.A., J.C. Martin, K.C. VerCauteren, G.E. Phillips, and J.D. Eisemann. 2014. Optimization of formulations for the lethal control of feral pigs. Proceedings of the 26th Vertebrate  Pest Conference 26:277-280.  

Gilbert, A., D. Kohler, T. Rigg, J. Fischer, T. Spraker, K. Fox, and K. VerCauteren. 2014. A recent epizootic of skunk rabies and associated spillover in northern Colorado, USA. Proceedings of the 26th Vertebrate Pest Conference 26:323-327.  

VerCauteren, K.C., M. Lavelle, T.M. Gehring, J-M. Landry, and L. Marker. 2014. Dogs as mediators of conservation conflicts. In: M.E. Gompper, ed. Free-Ranging Dogs and Wildlife Conservation. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.  211-238.

Slate, D., R. Chipman, T. Algeo, S.  Mills, K. Nelson, C. Croson, E. Dubovi, K. VerCauteren, R.W. Renshaw, T. Atwood, S. Johnson, and C. Rupprecht. 2014.  Safety and immunogenicity of Ontario rabies vaccine bait (ONRAB) in the first US field trial in raccoons (Procyon lotor).  Journal of Wildlife Diseases 50(3):582-595.  doi: 10.7589/2013-08-207.

Berentsen, A.R., S.R. Johnson, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Bait matrix flavor preference by mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) in Puerto Rico: Implications for oral rabies vaccination. Caribbean Journal of Science 48(1):52-58.

Johnson, H.E., J.W. Fischer, M. Hammond, P.D. Dorsey, W.D. Walter, C.A. Anderson, K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Evaluation of techniques to reduce deer and elk damage to agricultural crops. Wildlife Society Bulletin 38(2):358-365. doi: 10.1002/wsb.408.

Berentsen, A.R., S. Bender, P. Bender, D. Bergman, K. Hausig, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Preference among 7 bait flavors delivered to domestic dogs in Arizona: Implications for oral rabies vaccination on the Navajo Nation. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 9:169-171.  doi: 10.1016/jveb.2014.03.001.

Berentsen, A.R., S.P. Brummer, J.K. Young, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Evaluation of six ONRAB® Ultralite bait flavor matrices delivered to coyotes (Canis latrans): Implications for oral rabies vaccination.  Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 9:258-261.   doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.05.004.

Anderson, A., S.A. Shwiff, R.B. Chipman, T. Atwood, T. Cozzens, F. Fillo, R. Hale, B. Hatch, J. Maki, O.E. Rhodes, E.E. Rees, C.E. Rupprecht, R. Tinline, K.C. VerCauteren, and D. Slate. Forecasting the spread of raccoon rabies using a purpose-specific group decision-making process.  2014. Human-Wildlife Interactions 8(1):130-138.

Gortazar, C., L.A. Reperant, T. Kuiken, J. de la Fuente, M. Boadella, B. Martínez-Lopez, F. Ruiz-Fons, A. Estrada-Peña, C. Drosten, G. Medley, R. Ostfeld, T. Peterson, K. VerCauteren, C. Menge, M. Artois, C. Schultsz, R. Delahay, J. Serra-Cobo, R. Poulin, F. Keck, A.A. Aguirre, H. Henttonen, A.P. Dobson, S. Kutz, J. Lubroth, A. Mysterud. 2014. Crossing the interspecies barrier: Opening the door to zoonotic pathogens. PLoS Pathogens, 10(6), art. no. e1004129. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004129.

Lavelle, M.J., J.W. Fischer, G.E. Phillips, A.M. Hildreth, T.A. Campbell, D.G. Hewitt, S.E. Hygnstrom, and K.C. VerCauteren.  2014. Assessing risk of disease transmission: Direct implications for an indirect science. Bioscience 64(6):524-530. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu055.

Walter, W.D., R. Smith, M. Vanderklok, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2014. Linking bovine tuberculosis on cattle farms to white-tailed deer and environmental variables using Bayesian hierarchical analysis. PLoS One 9(3): e90925. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090925.

Ellis, C.K., R.S. Stahl, P. Nol, W.R. Waters, M.V. Palmer, J.C. Rhyan, K.C. VerCauteren, M.McCollum, M.D. Salman. 2014.A pilot study exploring the use of breath analysis to differentiate healthy cattle from cattle experimentally infected with Mycobacterium bovis. PloS One 9(2): e89280. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089280.


Walter, W.D., J.W. Fischer, T.J. Frink, S.E. Hygnstrom, J.A. Jenks, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Topographic home range of large mammals: Is planimetric home range still a viable method? The Prairie Naturalist 45(21):21-27.

Fischer, J.W., T.A. Nichols, G.E. Phillips, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Procedures for identifying infectious prions after passage through the digestive system of an avian species. Journal of Visualized Experiments 81: e50853, doi:10.3791/50853.

Fischer, J.W., G.E. Phillips, T.A. Nichols, and K.C. Vercauteren. 2013. Could avian scavengers translocate infectious prions to disease-free areas initiating new foci of chronic wasting disease? Prion 7(4): 263-266. doi:10.4161/pri.25621.

VerCauteren, K.C., M. Lavelle, and T.W. Seamans.  2013. Excluding mammals from airports. Pages 49-59 in T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell, and J.L. Belant, editors. Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, in association with The Wildlife Society.

Franklin A.B., K.C. VerCauteren, H. Maguire, M.K. Cichon, J.W. Fischer, M.J. Lavelle, A. Powell, J.J. Root, E. Scallan. 2013. Wild Ungulates as Disseminators of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli in Urban Areas. PLoS ONE 8(12):e81512 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081512.

Barasona, J.A., K.C. VerCauteren, N. Saklou, C. Gortazar, and J. Vicente. 2013. Effectiveness of cattle operated bump gates and exclusion fences in preventing ungulate multi-host sanitary interaction. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 111: 42-50. doi 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2013.02.009.

Dirsmith, K., K. VanDalen, T. Fry, B. Charles, K. VerCauteren, and C. Duncan. 2013. Leptospirosis in Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger) of Larimer County, Colorado, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 49(3): 641-645. doi: 10.7589/2012-10-265.

Drolet, B.S., L.M. Reister, T.D. Rigg, P. Nol, B.K. Podell, J.O. Mecham, K.D. VerCauteren, P.A. vanRijn, W.C. Wilson, and R.A. Bowen. 2013. Experimental infection of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with Northern European bluetongue virus serotype 8. Veterinary Microbiology 166: 347-355. doi: 10.1016/jvetmic.2013.05.027.

Ellison, J. A., S. R. Johnson, N. Kuzmina, A. Gilbert, W. C. Carson, K. C. Vercauteren, and C. E. Rupprecht. 2013. Multidisciplinary Approach to Epizootiology and Pathogenesis of Bat Rabies Viruses in the United States. Zoonoses and Public Health 60:46-57.

Fry, T.L., K.K. VanDalen, S.A. Shriner, S.M. Moore, C.A. Hanlon, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Humoral immune response to oral rabies vaccination in raccoon kits: Problems and implications. Vaccine 31: 2811-2815. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.04.016.

Fry, T.L., K.K. VanDalen, C. Duncan, and K. Vercauteren. 2013. The safety of ONRAB® in select non-target wildlife. Vaccine 31: 3839-3842. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.06.069.

Hefley, T.J., D.E. Hygnstrom, J.M. Gilsdorf, G.M. Clements, A.J. Tyre, D.M. Baasch, K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Effects of deer density and land use on mass of white-tailed deer. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 4(1): 20-32. doi 10.3996/022012-JFWM-015.

Hildreth, A.M., S.E. Hygnstrom, K.C. Vercauteren. 2013. Deer-activated bioacoustic frightening device deters white-tailed deer. Human-Wildlife Interactions 7(1): 107-113.

Nichols T.A., T.R. Spraker, T.D. Rigg, C. Meyerett-Reid, C.Hoover, B. Michel, J. Bian, E. Hoover, T. Gidlewski, A. Balachandran, K. O'Rourke, G.C. Telling, R. Bowen, M.D. Zabel, and K.C.VerCauteren. 2013. Intranasal inoculation of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with lyophilized Chronic Wasting Disease prion particulate complexed to montmorillonite clay. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62455. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062455

Pilon, J.L., J.C. Rhyan, L.L. Wolfe, T.R. Davis, M.P. McCollum, K.I. O'Rourke, T. R. Spraker, K.C. VerCauteren, M. W. Miller, T. Gidlewski, T.A. Nichols, L.A. Miller, and P. Nol. 2013.  Immunization with a synthetic peptide vaccine fails to protect mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) from chronic wasting disease. J Wildl Dis. 49(3):694-8.

Walter, W.D., J.W. Fischer, C.W. Anderson, D.R. Marks, T. DeLiberto, W. Robbe-Austerman, K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Surveillance and movements of Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) in the bovine tuberculosis region of Michigan. Epidemiology and Infection 141: 1498-1503. doi: 10.1017/S0950268813000629.

Wyckoff, A. C., K. L. Lockwood, C. Meyerett-Reid, B. A. Michel, H. Bender, K. C. VerCauteren, and M. D. Zabel. 2013. Estimating prion adsorption capacity of soil by bioassay of subtracted infectivity from complex solutions (BASICS). PloS one 8. 10.1371/journal.pone.0058630


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