Yearly Archives: 2011

DNR Implements New Regulations To Prevent Spread Of Deer Disease

Annapolis, Md. — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces new regulations to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). These regulations, effective immediately, apply only to a small portion of Allegany County, and ban the use of bait and limit the movement of deer carcasses.

“Our goal with these regulations is to prevent the spread of this disease to other areas in Maryland and nearby states,” said Pete Jayne, DNR’s Game Program Manager. “We have focused these restrictions to be effective and enforceable while minimizing impacts to the strong deer hunting traditions found in Western Maryland, especially around the popular Green Ridge State Forest area.”

The regulations are necessary after it was confirmed that a white-tailed deer harvested in November 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest tested positive for CWD, the only confirmed case of CWD in Maryland.

The new regulations apply ONLY to the CWD Management area -the portion of Allegany County noted as Private Land Code 233 in the annual Guide to Hunting and Trapping. This section includes a portion of Green Ridge State Forest east of Flintstone and Oldtown.

In this area, feeding forest game birds and mammals is prohibited on both public and private lands. This regulation bans feeding on a year-round basis and includes feed placed for both hunting and non-hunting purposes. The ban prohibits fruit, vegetables, nuts, hay, corn, wheat, other feed, salt or other mineral-based being placed out as attractants. Forest game birds and mammals are defined as wild turkey, grouse, deer, bear and squirrels. Gland and urine-based lures are still permitted. Normal agricultural practices and operations are exempted from this ban, including the planting and harvesting of crops and operations associated with livestock care. The normal feeding of song birds remains legal.

The transportation of certain parts of deer carcasses out of the CWD Management Area is restricted unless the carcass is being transported directly to an approved deer processor within Allegany County. The following parts of deer may be transported out of the CWD Management Area: Antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached, finished taxidermy mounts, clean hides with no head attached, boneless meat and skull plates cleaned of all meat and brain tissue.

B&B Butchering, 10649 Orleans Road NE, Little Orleans, Maryland. 301-478-2558 and B&B Country Meats, 11329 Upper Georges Creek Road, Frostburg, Maryland. 301-689-6225 are commercial deer processors cooperating with DNR to properly process deer taken from the CWD Management Area.

DNR is placing dumpsters at several locations within the CWD Management Area for use by hunters that choose to butcher their own deer. The hides, bones and other waste products that are left over after a deer is butchered should be placed in these dumpsters for proper disposal. Dumpster locations will be noted in posters placed throughout the CWD Management Area and can be seen online. Hunters may also call 301-777-2136 for a map showing the dumpster locations and cooperating processors.

Deer Reported by Oronoco Landowner Tests Negative for CWD

A white-tailed deer, recently discovered in southeastern Minnesota near Oronoco, exhibited some symptoms consistent with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) but was not infected with the disease.

“We appreciate the public awareness about the disease and its potential effects on the deer population,” said Lou Cornicelli, big game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “We are relieved this animal did not have CWD.”

A landowner observed the adult male deer on his property walking in a tight circle for a long period of time. He reported the deer to the DNR, which euthanized the animal and took it to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for testing.

Deer showing signs of possibly having CWD always are tested when discovered, Cornicelli said. This is the first sick deer found and tested in the CWD zone – which stretches from Wanamingo, Zumbrota and Zumbro Falls southward to Kasson, Byron and Rochester – since sharpshooting ended last winter. None of the 1,181 deer tested in the area have tested positive for the disease.

The CWD zone was established earlier this year after an archery hunter harvested a CWD-positive deer in November 2010. Sampling was conducted last winter, and a deer feeding ban was enacted. Efforts to continue to monitor the area for additional cases of CWD and measures to help prevent its potential spread are in place for the fall hunting season.

“White-tailed deer contract a variety of diseases that express neurological symptoms,” Cornicelli said. “Further testing is ongoing to determine what affected this animal.”

Individuals should continue to notify DNR if they see a deer exhibiting CWD-like symptoms, which can include walking in circles, drooling, staggering, emaciation and a lack of fear toward humans.

More information about CWD, the DNR’s fall surveillance plans, and new regulations for the CWD zone in southeastern Minnesota are available online.

Hunt. Harvest. Help. New CWD Website Launched

MADISON – Hunters and landowners can learn more about what they can do to maintain a healthy deer herd and Wisconsin’s strong hunting traditions through a new website dedicated to sharing information on Chronic Wasting Disease.

The website, www.knowcwd.com, carries the theme of “Hunt. Harvest. Help” and features racing champion Matt Kenseth, a deer hunter and Cambridge, Wis., native, in a public service announcement talking about the importance of teamwork in tackling CWD.

“As a deer hunter, I’m concerned about CWD,” Kenseth says in a video public service announcement on the website. “But it’s going to take more than one person to slow the spread of CWD…It’s a team effort Wisconsin. So get out there and hunt, harvest and help.”

Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials say the website was developed to share information on how CWD is spread, where the disease exists in the Wisconsin deer population and what other states with CWD are doing about it. There also is information about human health risks. Several additional tabs on the website direct visitors to information on how individuals can help, frequently asked questions and videos.

The website also links to important CWD management information including Wisconsin’s CWD Response Plan and current and past CWD research and statistics.

“CWD has the potential for significant, negative impacts on the future of deer and deer hunting anywhere it exists,” said Davin Lopez, DNR’s CWD coordinator. “Minimizing the area of Wisconsin where the disease occurs is the responsible thing to do. Wisconsin’s current CWD policy is containment, rather than elimination of the disease. Hunter and landowner participation is key to this effort.

Beginning the week of Aug. 15 TV viewers in the CWD management zone will see CWD public service announcements featuring Kenseth. Also the “Hunt. Harvest. Help.” theme will appear on billboards, in print ads and in other online sources.

The website and materials were developed with the aid of a U.S. Department of Agriculture/Veterinary Services grant and a private sector communications firm.

Deer Disease Test Results Come Back Clean

AUSTIN –Chronic Wasting Disease and Bovine Tuberculosis were not detected in more than 300 deer held illegally on an East Texas deer breeding facility, according to findings at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

The test results mean these deadly wildlife diseases have not been discovered in Texas deer, and enable several deer breeding facilities whose stock had co-mingled with the illegally held animals to resume normal operations.

“We are greatly relieved with the results from the disease testing,” said Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We take disease issues very seriously because of the potential impacts to Texas’ natural resources, the public’s wildlife, and the multi-billion dollar hunting and deer breeding industries.”

While the lab results provide a positive conclusion to an extensive epidemiological investigation by state wildlife officials, they do not moderate the actions of a 77-year-old former deer breeder that led to the need for disease testing.

Billy Powell pleaded guilty on June 14 to the felony offense of smuggling at least 37 white-tailed deer, over a 3-year time span, from Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio into Texas in violation of state and federal laws. CWD has been documented in at least 10 counties in Illinois, posing a direct link for disease risk in Texas as a result of Powell’s illegal importation activities.

“It is regrettable that Mr. Powell forced the state to take this action in the first place,” said Smith. “After he repeatedly smuggled deer illegally into Texas and risked introducing devastating diseases into both wild deer herds and penned deer operations, thereby threatening the state with immense economic harm, the Department had no choice but to step in. Quite simply, the hundreds of thousands of deer hunters who go to the field annually in pursuit of wild game and the thousands of landowners who manage the state’s wildlife responsibly don’t deserve to have their enjoyment of wildlife jeopardized by someone who shows such little regard for the public’s resources.”

The implications from a CWD outbreak in Texas’ internationally recognized white-tailed deer population, both free-ranging and captive, would be significant. Deer hunting is an important cultural and recreational component of Texas lifestyle, pursued annually by more than 600,000 sportsmen, and has an economic impact to the state in excess of $2.2 billion a year, according to published reports. In addition, studies show deer breeding activities have an economic impact in Texas of about $650 million annually.

CWD was originally described in captive animals 35 years ago in Colorado. However, during the last five years, the fatal disease has been detected in free-ranging cervids in several surrounding states and Canada. In 2002, a year after Texas closed its borders to importation of deer due to disease risks, CWD was reported in free-ranging deer in South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, and Utah.

Currently, 20 states and Canadian provinces are tagged as having documented CWD in their deer, elk or moose. The progression of the disease into new areas remains persistent. In 2005, West Virginia detected a positive. Virginia got a confirmed case in 2010 and this year Maryland joined the list of infected states.

Further proof that CWD can spread, remain dormant for years and ultimately impact a resource; a shipment of elk from an infected herd in Canada to Korea in 1997 went undetected for nearly 10 years. Despite tracing back the imported animals, which were euthanized for testing in 2005, CWD persists in that country. Last year, one out of three elk slaughtered for human consumption on one farm tested positive for CWD; the entire herd of about 100 animals had to be euthanized. CWD appears to pose no threat to human health.

More than 1,200 permits are issued annually to deer breeders in Texas covering an estimated 80,000 whitetails held in captivity. The vast majority of deer breeders operate within guidelines designed to minimize risk of disease transmission. Since CWD surveillance efforts were initiated in Texas a decade ago, more than 35,000 deer samples have been submitted for testing. TPWD has tested only about 800 illegally-possessed deer from 32 different violators.

“People ask me if I’m confident we don’t have CWD in Texas after testing that many animals, and I tell them my confidence level grows each year,” said Mitch Lockwood, TPWD’s big game program director. “But, that confidence drops to zero every time we learn about a deer being smuggled into the state. The threat is real and the consequences can be substantial; just ask any of those other states that are dealing with CWD in their deer herds.”

DNR Sets Up Special CWD Deer Zone in SE Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is setting up a special deer-hunting area in southeastern Minnesota where a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The new CWD management area features a 23-day firearms season.

The Star Tribune reports submission of samples for CWD testing will be required. Carcass import and export restrictions also will apply to the area.

A deer tested positive for the disease near Pine Island last November. The DNR later tested hundreds of deer within a 10-mile radius of where the infected deer was found. No other deer tested positive for the disease.

The disease is fatal for deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence it spreads to humans.