Yearly Archives: 2018

Pennsylvania – CWD Test results continue to come in

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s statewide deer seasons have come to a close, and within the next several weeks, final chronic wasting disease test results will return from deer harvested by hunters in the 2017-18 seasons.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from deer harvested across the state and tests them for chronic wasting disease (CWD), as part of the agency’s ongoing CWD surveillance.

Within the state’s Disease Management Areas – where the disease has been detected in captive and free-ranging deer – intensified sampling occurs.

This past hunting season, the Game Commission offered free CWD testing for hunters harvesting deer within Disease Management Areas (DMAs). Free testing offered hunters a way to have their deer tested prior to consuming it, and it provided the Game Commission with additional samples to better pinpoint areas where the disease exists, so specific problem spots might be addressed.

Successful hunters within DMAs dropped off heads from more than 1,500 deer in the boxes. About 1,000 of these samples already have been tested for CWD, with the results reported to hunters.

Additionally, Game Commission staff collected more than 3,000 other samples within DMAs to test for CWD. In total, nearly 8,000 samples were collected statewide. Slightly more than 5,700 whitetails were tested for CWD in 2016; 25 tested positive, all were in or near DMA 2, the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in the wild.

At this time, 51 deer from the 2017-18 hunting seasons have tested positive for CWD. All have been within the DMAs. Forty-eight were within DMA 2, in southcentral Pennsylvania; and three were within DMA 3 in northcentral Pennsylvania.

But the majority of samples collected still are being analyzed.

Wayne Laroche, the Game Commission’s special assistant for CWD response, said the agency will continue to assess the incoming test results to evaluate the best response to confront CWD where it exists. DMA boundaries regularly have been adjusted in relation to newly detected CWD-positive animals. And last year, the Game Commission teamed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s APHIS’s Wildlife Services on a CWD surveillance effort where 30 deer were removed by sharpshooters and one CWD-positive deer was detected.

“By developing a control program where we go into these hotspots and remove the animals with a greater likelihood of carrying the disease, we might stand our best chance of controlling CWD on a larger scale, while minimizing the impact on the larger deer population or diminishing deer hunting opportunities,” Laroche said.

CWD is not a new disease, and other states have decades of experience dealing with CWD in the wild. It first was detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive deer facility, and it was detected in free-ranging deer soon after. To date in Pennsylvania, CWD has been detected in 98 free-ranging deer.

CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct and indirect contact. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, and will eventually result in the death of the infected animal. There is no live test for CWD and no known cure. There also is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, however, it is recommended the meat of infected deer – or deer thought to be sick – not be consumed.

For more information on CWD, the rules applying within DMAs or what hunters can do to have harvested deer tested for CWD, visit the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us. Information can be found by clicking on the button titled “CWD Information” near the top of the homepage.

Final CWD test results from the 2017-18 deer seasons will be released when available.

MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541

North Dakota – Two Deer Test Positive for CWD

A whitetail buck and a mule deer doe, taken during the 2017 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota, have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the state Game and Fish Department.

Since 2009, the total now stands at 11 deer to test positive for CWD in North Dakota, and all were from within unit 3F2.

In 2010, the Game and Fish Department implemented special regulations in 3F2 and surrounding units to limit the natural spread of the disease, and to protect the rest of the deer, elk and moose herds in North Dakota.

In addition to the 350 samples tested for CWD from unit 3F2, another 1,050 were tested from deer harvested last fall by hunters in the central third of the state, and from any moose or elk taken during the hunting season. In all, more than 1,400 samples were tested.

Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 31,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.

“The Department takes the risk of CWD to the state’s deer, elk and moose herds seriously,” Grove said. “CWD is considered a permanent disease on the landscape once an area becomes endemic.”

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In 2018, deer will be tested from the western portion of the state.

The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick.

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. For more information on CWD, refer to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Nebraska – Sampling of deer results in 203 positives for CWD

LINCOLN, Neb. – The presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer has been detected for the first time in the southwestern Nebraska counties of Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Frontier and Franklin, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Commission conducted a CWD sampling operation in its Northwest and Southwest District deer check stations during the 2017 November firearm deer season.

There were 203 positives from 1,807 deer sampled primarily in the Frenchman, Platte, Republican, Pine Ridge, Upper Platte and Plains management units. Both whitetails and mule deer were sampled.

The goal of this sampling effort is to assess the spread and prevalence of the disease through periodic testing in each region of the state, which in turn helps biologists predict when and if future effects on deer numbers may occur. Testing will take place in regional locations of the state in the next several years.

Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Commission staff have tested nearly 51,000 deer and found 499 that tested positive. CWD has been found in 40 Nebraska counties, but no population declines attributable to the disease have yet occurred.

CWD is prion disease that attacks the brain of an infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death. It is generally thought that CWD is transmitted from animal to animal through exchange of body fluids, but other modes of transmission may exist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted CWD; however, hunters should cautiously handle and process deer and avoid consuming animals that test positive or look sick. Livestock and other animals not in the deer family also do not appear susceptible to CWD.

Hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD by using proper carcass disposal methods. CWD prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters should field dress animals at the place of kill, avoid spreading spinal cord or brain tissue to meat, and to dispose of the head (brain), spinal column and other bones at a licensed landfill.

Learn more about CWD at OutdoorNebraska.gov/cwd/.

Contact information: Jerry Kane ([email protected]), 402-471-5008, news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Wisconsin – First CWD detection in Lincoln County will result in baiting and feeding ban in Lincoln and Langlade Counties

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in northeast Lincoln County, south of Rhinelander.

As required by law, this finding will establish baiting and feeding bans for Lincoln and Langlade counties effective Feb. 1, 2018. The ban for Lincoln County will be enacted for three years. Langlade County is within 10 miles of the Lincoln County positive wild deer, and due to being adjacent to a county with a CWD positive test result, a two-year ban will be enacted. Oneida county is already under baiting and feeding bans and those bans will be renewed with this newest detection.

The two-year-old buck harvested in northeast Lincoln County is the first confirmed positive deer in this county.

“This latest discovery is troublesome and is something we take very seriously,” said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. “We will start a dialogue with the local community through the County Deer Advisory Council on what steps should be taken next. While there is no silver bullet remedy to eradicate CWD, we have learned from experience that having the local community involved is a key factor in managing this disease.”

The DNR will also take the following steps:

• Establish a 10-mile radius disease surveillance area around this positive location

• Conduct surveillance activities to assess disease distribution and prevalence including:

◦ Encourage reporting of sick deer

◦ Sample vehicle-killed adult deer

◦ Sample adult deer harvested under agricultural damage permits

◦ Sample adult deer harvested under urban deer hunts in the area

• Establish additional CWD sampling locations prior to the 2018 deer seasons

These actions are a very important next step in further understanding the potential geographic distribution of the disease and if other animals are infected within Wisconsin’s deer herd in the area.

As has been demonstrated in the past in other parts of the state, local citizen involvement in the decision-making process as well as management actions to address this CWD detection will have the greatest potential for success.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, and how to have adult deer tested during the 2018/2019 hunting seasons, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search “bait and feeding” and “CWD sampling” respectively.

Michigan’s CWD Working Group Recommendations

A Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group was established in response to a charge by Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission to develop recommendations on further steps and actions to substantially mitigate or eliminate CWD in Michigan. The Working Group met on three separate occasions to accomplish this charge and they should be commended for their time and thoughtful contributions to this report.

There are four major areas identified by the Working Group that should be the focus for CWD efforts in Michigan: Communication, Research Consortium, Farmed Cervidae, and Harvest and Removal. From these four thematic areas came five key recommendations, outlined in this document [PDF]