Yearly Archives: 2013

CWD-positive White-tailed Deer Found on Marathon County Hunting Preserve

MADISON – For the first time in five years, a white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. This latest case was found in Marathon County.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, reported the final test results back to the state. The animal was a 5-year-old male and was one of about 370 deer in the 351-acre preserve.

The deer was killed on November 4. Samples were taken on November 7 in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die, go to slaughter or are killed. The sample originally tested positive at a regional laboratory and required a confirmatory test at the NVSL. The DATCP Animal Health Division’s investigation will look at the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

McGraw quarantined the preserve and the other three registered farms owned by the same entity immediately, which stops movement of live deer from the property, except to slaughter or to their hunting preserves. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined preserves, because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.

This is the first new CWD test-positive deer on a Wisconsin farm since October 2008.

Since CWD was discovered in Wisconsin in February 2002, there were eighty-two cases from a single Portage county farm that was depopulated in 2006. The remaining 15 cases were discovered over a six-year period from 2002 to 2008 on eight farms and hunting preserves. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. Since 1998, more than 35,700 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested for CWD.

Second CWD deer found in Portage County

A deer harvested by a bow hunter in southeast Portage County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the state Department of Natural Resources reports. This is the second CWD-positive wild deer found in the county. Wildlife biologists in central Wisconsin now are asking bow hunters to assist with increased surveillance for the disease in four separate areas where positives have been confirmed outside the CWD management zone. CWD is contagious and fatal for deer, elk and moose. “Last fall CWD was discovered for the first time in three wild, white-tailed deer in Adams, Juneau and Portage counties” said DNR area wildlife supervisor Kris Johansen. “Now we have a second positive in a different area of Portage County. To better define the geographic extent of CWD in central Wisconsin, we are focusing additional surveillance around each of these four locations.” The latest CWD positive deer was harvested Oct. 6 just northwest of Almond in Portage County.

To view where the surveillance focus areas are located, hunters can go to the DNR website and enter “CWD registration” in the key word search, then click on “CWD registration and sampling.” On this page – detailed maps show the precise location of these surveillance circles for the first three positives, the ones in Adams and Juneau counties and the first find in Portage County, located in the northwest corner of the county. There is also a map showing the two Portage County locations. A new map, showing the precise surveillance area for the fourth positive, in southeast Portage County, will be added to the web page as soon as it is prepared. This page also links to a list of cooperating taxidermists and meat processors where samples can be collected. The DNR is asking hunters to work with these cooperators to have head and lymph node samples from adult deer – harvested within the four focus areas – removed for testing. To have the sample removed, the hunter can bring the whole deer to one of the listed cooperators or just remove the head with at least three inches of neck attached and bring that in for sampling. “Please call ahead to set up an appointment,” Johansen said. “These are private business operators who are helping us out, and we want to respect their time and their schedules.” This list will be updated online as new cooperators join the surveillance effort:

  • Wisconsin River Meats, N5340 County HH, Mauston 608-847-7413
  • A&B Butchering, 6971 Hwy 34, Rudolph 715-435-3893
  • Strickly Wild Processing, 140 Buffalo St, Wisconsin Rapids 715-421-0587
  • Hartnell’s Wild Game Processing, 1925 Cypress Ave., Arkdale 608-339-7288
  • Trevor Athens Taxidermy, 982 15th Ave., Arkdale 608-547-6117
  • Tall Tines Taxidermy, N2621 Cassidy Road, Mauston 608-547-0818
  • Todd’s Wildlife Taxidermy, N2148 State 58, Mauston 608-847-7693
  • Vollmer Taxidermy, 3631 Plover Road, Plover 715-345-1934
  • Field and Stream Taxidermy, 217 S. Front St., Coloma 608-547-1565
  • DNR Service Center, 473 Griffith Ave., Wisconsin Rapids 715-421-7813
  • Mead Wildlife Area, S2148 County S, Milladore 715-457-6771
  • Adams Ranger Station, 532 N. Adams St., Adams 608-339-4819
  • Almond Market, 111 Main St., Almond 715-366-2002

Hunters may also have deer from any of the four focus areas tested for CWD by contacting one of these DNR offices:

  • Mead Wildlife Area headquarters, S2148 County S, Milladore – 715-457-6771
  • WI Rapids Service Center, 473 Griffith Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids – 715-421-7813
  • Adams-Friendship Ranger Station, 532 N. Main Street, Adams – 608-339-4819

On the weekends or during warm periods, hunters should remove the deer head with at least three inches of neck attached, freeze the head and then contact the DNR to arrange a drop off.

DNR staff will also collect samples from hunter-harvested deer on the opening weekend of the gun deer season. Collection stations and hours will be published prior to the gun deer season. The CWD tests are free to hunters. Each person who submits a head for testing will receive lab results within three or four weeks.

Regulations Issued to Protect NYS Deer Population from Chronic Wasting Disease

Emergency Measures Restrict Importation of Certain Deer Species Disease Could Devastate NY’s Deer Population and Result in Severe Economic Repercussions on the State’s Sportsman Industry The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation today announced emergency regulations to prohibit the importation of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) susceptible deer into the State. The protection of the state’s deer population is important not only to the balance of the ecosystem but also is critical to supporting the hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women whose recreational activities contribute some $780 million in economic impact statewide. “These emergency measures will help mitigate the risk of CWD taking a firm hold here in New York State,” said State Acting Agriculture Commissioner James B. Bays. “I’m a hunter and an avid outdoorsman, and keeping New York’s wild and captive deer herds healthy will help protect multi-million dollar industries that create jobs and provide recreational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. From our agency’s perspective, the most important thing that we can do is limit the exposure of deer to CWD. That’s exactly what these regulations will do.” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, “New York State has a long tradition of deer hunting and deer management. It is imperative that we remain vigilant and prevent Chronic Wasting Disease from entering the State. These regulations will bolster existing protections already in place in New York and help to maintain a vibrant population of our most sought after game species. This show of stewardship help will ensure that sportsmen and sportswomen continue to have great deer hunting opportunities throughout the state.” The emergency regulations provide a ban on imports of specific species between November 16, 2013 and August 1, 2018. These species include Rocky Mountain elk, red deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, white-tailed deer, sika deer, and moose. Currently 19 states including New York prohibit the importation of live deer. CWD is a fatal, neurologic disease to species of deer caused by a disease agent called a prion, which eventually destroys the brain tissue of infected animals. Prions are shed by infected animals in their saliva, feces and urine. The time from infection to the first outward signs of illness (animals appear weak and unsteady) may be two years or longer. Soil contaminated with CWD prions cannot be decontaminated and can remain as a source of CWD exposure to wild deer for years. At the present time, the only accepted means of diagnosis must be performed after an animal suspected of being infected with CWD is dead. The primary tool for preventing spread of CWD is the USDA Herd Certification program, which requires herds that wish to ship animals interstate to undergo a five year certification process involving surveillance testing and maintenance of herd inventories. While the program has helped slow the spread of CWD, it cannot guarantee that certified herds will remain CWD-free. Despite the best efforts of qualified animal health professionals, CWD has arisen in four new states (PA, MO, MN, IA) since 2010 and all were participating in the Herd Certification program. The source of the most recent detection of CWD in both captive and wild deer in Pennsylvania remains unknown twelve months after the initial detection. Farms in other states purchased animals from the original infected herd in Pennsylvania; some escaped and some remain unaccounted for. Absent these regulations, states with potentially infected deer populations would be allowed to export deer to New York. “If we continue to allow imports, we could receive CWD exposed deer or elk that originated in one state and subsequently passed through a facility in a third state,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. David Smith. “That’s not a risk we’re willing to take here in New York. CWD is extremely difficult to detect and control and once present, the costs to the wild deer population, captive deer owners, and the entire state are high. We do not want this disease proliferating throughout our state’s valuable wild populations and captive deer herds. New York will continue to work with stakeholders and animal health professionals as these important regulations move forward.” The costs of states to deal with outbreaks in CWD in terms of resources and tax dollars are tremendous. Prevalence rates in some parts of Wisconsin are over 20 percent just 10 years after the introduction of CWD into the state, costing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources $14 million the first year alone, with much of the money pulled from other wildlife programs. Furthermore, the economic impact that CWD could have on New York State is considerable. Based on the most recent data, New York’s wild deer herds have a $780.5 million economic impact in the state, while the economic impact of captive deer is $13.2 million. There are an estimated 823,000 hunting licenses in New York and the state ranks third in the nation in residential hunters. In 2011, New York was fourth in the nation in spending by hunters and generated an estimated $290 million in state and local taxes. According to the latest data, there are 433 facilities across New York State that currently hold captive deer. Of these facilities, 25 imported a total of 400 CWD-susceptible deer from January 1, 2011 through March 29, 2013. New York will still permit the importation of deer semen for artificial insemination. Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will also be allowed to still import CWD-susceptible species. Bruce L. Akey, MS DVM, executive director, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, said: “The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) includes internationally recognized experts on the transmission of disease and the ecology of diseases in wildlife populations. Chronic Wasting Disease is a serious threat to New York’s wild white-tailed deer herd. With recent confirmation of CWD in Pennsylvania, our disease specialists are very concerned that CWD may once again be detected in New York. It is entirely appropriate that New York’s regulatory agencies, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation, take all reasonable measures to keep CWD out of New York. Given that there is no test currently available to detect CWD in live animals prior to movement, strong prevention measures are the only reasonable and economical way of managing CWD. Once CWD is confirmed in a population of white-tailed deer, the ecological and economic consequences will be catastrophic. We applaud the recent regulation prohibiting the importation of live captive white-tailed deer, the highest known risk factor for CWD.” Chuck Parker, president, New York State Conservation Council, said: “The New York State Conservation Council takes pride in being a major voice for the Sportsmen in New York for over 80 years. All of our positions and policies are the majority consensus of our membership. The voting representatives of the NYSCC through the affiliations of their local clubs represent upwards of 330,000 sportsmen in this state. The whitetail deer population in New York is enjoyed by sportsmen and outdoor enthusiast alike. The tradition of hunting has a proud history in New York and still offers an excellent opportunity for the sportsmen today. Along with the opportunity to hunt deer comes the economic impact to the state of nearly $800 million from deer hunting. Chronic Wasting Disease, if it was to be found in our wild deer population would create a serious environmental, recreational, and economic impact in New York. The New York State Conservation Council is strongly committed to supporting actions both by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure that Chronic Wasting Disease never again is found in New York.” Jason Kemper, chairman of the Conservation Fund Advisory Board, said: “The New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board makes recommendations to state agencies on state government plans, policies, and programs affecting fish and wildlife. The wild white-tail deer population is extremely valuable to the State of New York, generating about $780 million annually by hunting and associated businesses. License sales associated with deer hunting fund a majority of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s fish and wildlife management programs. The health and integrity of New York’s wild deer herd is vital to both our natural and hunting heritage as well as our economy. We applaud actions taken by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation to implement all reasonable measures to prevent CWD from ever again occurring in New York.” Mike Fishman, president of the New York Chapter of The Wildlife Society, said: “The New York Chapter of The Wildlife Society strongly supports the joint regulatory efforts of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to restrict the import of live, captive deer and other cervids to New York to prevent the reintroduction of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD poses a significant threat to our wild deer populations. Reintroduction of the disease could have disastrous consequences on an important ecological and economic resource in New York. This restriction is a necessary conservation measure to protect a very important wildlife resource.” Alan White, executive director of the Catskill Center, said: “The Catskill Center supports efforts by both the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Department of Environmental Conservation to reduce the chances that CWD would ever again be found in New York State. We support the newly proposed regulation to prohibit the importation of live captive white-tailed deer from out of state. These captive deer are a known risk factor for the spread of CWD. Deer hunting has deep and rich traditions in the Catskill Mountains, and it is vital that we ensure that the health of New York’s wild white-tailed deer herd is not compromised by CWD.” A public hearing is scheduled to discuss the emergency regulations at noon on December 19, 2013 at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, 10B Airline Drive, Albany.

MDC needs hunter help with CWD sampling in north-central Missouri

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is again working with hunters from around the state, along with taxidermy shops and meat processors in north-central Missouri, to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The cooperative effort is part of MDC’s ongoing work to detect cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Missouri’s free-ranging deer. The sample collection effort is limited to deer harvested in MDC’s CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties. MDC encourages hunters to take deer harvested in these counties to one of numerous cooperating locations in the region to have a tissue sample taken for testing. Sampling locations include area taxidermists and meat processors, and MDC offices in Columbia, Chillicothe and Kirksville during normal business hours. Removing a tissue sample is free, takes only a few minutes and will not reduce the food or mount value of harvested deer. The sampling effort is taking place until Jan. 15. Test results typically take 3-4 weeks and are being posted for participating hunters on the MDC website at mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/cwdSurveillance/cwdSurveillance.aspx. More information on CWD and a list of sample-collection locations can be found in MDC’s “2013 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet available at MDC offices and nature centers, from permit vendors, and online at tinyurl.com/obxjp27. The Department also encourages hunters throughout the state who encounter or harvest deer in poor condition with no obvious injuries to contact their local conservation agent or MDC office. Local MDC contacts can be found online at mdc.mo.gov. CWD is always fatal to white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. There is no evidence that the disease can affect humans or domestic animals. CWD was first found Missouri in 2010 and remains confined to 21 confirmed cases in both captive and free-ranging deer in a small area that borders northeastern Linn and northwestern Macon counties. Cooperation from hunters during past sampling efforts helped detect cases found in free-ranging deer from the area. “Infectious diseases such as CWD are a serious and growing threat to Missouri’s estimated 1.4 million free-ranging and 9,000 captive white-tailed deer, and the many Missourians, businesses, and communities that rely on a healthy and abundant deer population,” said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “This includes nearly 520,000 deer hunters, nearly two million wildlife watchers, thousands of landowners, 12,000 Missouri jobs, and hundreds of businesses and communities around the state that depend on the $1 billion annual economic boost related to deer hunting and watching.” MDC is also working with concerned citizens to identify actions to prevent new occurrences of CWD and to limit its spread in both captive and free-ranging deer. The Department encourages concerned citizens to share their comments online at mdc.mo.gov/deerhealth.

New rule for importing deer and elk harvested out of state into Arizona is now in effect

A new rule went into effect this summer regulating the importation of hunter-harvested deer and elk to Arizona from out of state. It was adopted to prevent the inadvertent introduction of chronic wasting disease and other diseases to Arizona wildlife through the actions of hunters bringing their harvested deer or elk into the state. The rule is part of the department’s amended Article 3 rules which recently went into effect.

Under the new rule, only the following animal parts of deer and elk taken out of state may now be brought into Arizona:

  • Boneless meat
  • Packaged meat
  • Antlers
  • Cleaned hides and capes
  • Cleaned skulls or skull plates free of tissue
  • Finished taxidermy mounts or products
  • Upper canine teeth free of tissue

Because this is the first year the rule is in effect, some hunters, meat processors and taxidermists may encounter challenges. Initially, Arizona Game and Fish officers will focus primarily on education efforts.

Hunters entering Arizona with lawfully harvested deer or elk from another state will be allowed to take or ship them directly to a licensed taxidermist, or game meat processor. In every case, the scraps and nervous tissue (including brain and spinal column) must always be double-bagged and disposed of in an Arizona state-regulated landfill, or a waste receptacle designated for such a landfill. These landfills operate under the strict regulations of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, assuring that the potential for prion-contamination of the soil or water supply is eliminated.

The new rule is expected to have minimal impact on most Arizona meat processors and taxidermists, and hunters returning to Arizona with harvested animals to these types of businesses. Most processors receive only small quantities of meat from out of state, according to a recent survey. The involvement of taxidermist and meat processing businesses that handle imported nonresident cervids (deer and elk) diminishes substantially as the distance from the state border decreases.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological wildlife disease that affects cervids (deer, elk and moose). To date, no evidence has been found to indicate that CWD affects humans but research is ongoing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been monitoring for the presence of CWD in the state since 1998 and has tested 17,000 samples since that time. Although testing has not found CWD to be present in Arizona, it has been found in the neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Arizona’s new rules are an additional safeguard to keep the disease out of Arizona.

For more information on CWD, visit www.azgfd.gov/cwd or www.cwd-info.org.