Author Archives: CWD Alliance

Montana – Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer north of Chester

A mule deer buck shot by a hunter Nov. 12 north of Chester on the Hi-Line near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The deer was taken in hunting district 401 in Liberty County.

The test results mark the fifth incident of CWD discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. The other four deer came from south of Billings. Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, though the disease exists in wild deer herds in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

In anticipation of the disease coming to Montana, FWP recently updated its CWD response plan, and FWP director Martha Williams has assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection near Billings. FWP is in the process of putting together a team for the latest detection north of Chester.

 An incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

FWP is currently organizing a hunt to respond to the detections in south central Montana. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their meeting Thursday in Helena for final approval.

It has not been determined yet if a special CWD hunt will occur at the site of the latest detection north of Chester. Currently, there is no general deer hunting season open near where the deer was harvested in HD 401.

CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.  

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

For more information on CWD and FWP’s response, please look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. You can email [email protected].

CWD Update

International Updates

Norway

The following release was issued by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute on November 15, 2017 (https://www.vetinst.no/nyheter/surveillance-and-eradication-efforts-towards-cwd):

Surveillance and eradication efforts towards CWD

Surveillance and eradication efforts towards Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Norwegian free-ranging reindeer proceeds. Around 700 animals were taken out during the 2017 hunting season, leaving some 1500 animals to be handled by professionals.

All animals taken out will be tested for CWD by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. From this, the government will be provided with knowledge of the disease prevalence in the area. Sampling will further give opportunities for research and increased understanding of this severe disease in cervids.

Since the detection of CWD in 2016, Norway has sampled and analysed around 29.000 individuals across the four species; reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), red deer (Cervus elaphus atlanticus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and moose (Alces alces). CWD has so far, in November 2017, been detected in eight free-ranging reindeer, three moose and one red deer.

See interview with Jørn Våge, CWD coordinator at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9ztjsVun9Og?rel=0.

State and Provincial Updates

Michigan

The following press release was issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 17, 2017 (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/1c5a081#.Wg80SyzvXiM.facebook):

Federal lab confirms Montcalm County deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease

– This is second hunter-harvested CWD-positive deer in Montcalm County; three additional suspect positives awaiting confirmation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that the 1.5-year-old buck, harvested last month in Sidney Township (Montcalm County), was confirmed positive for 2

chronic wasting disease by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. This is the 11th case of CWD to be confirmed in a free-ranging deer in Michigan.

Since the harvest of that deer, three additional suspect positive deer – all from Montcalm County, in Pine, Reynolds and Sidney townships – are awaiting confirmation.

“Thank you to these hunters for checking their deer, which is required for these areas. Hunter assistance is critical in the ongoing fight against the spread of CWD,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “The response from hunters so far shows a strong willingness to help, and it’s clear that more hunters are committed to getting their deer tested.”

There are three Core CWD Areas that have mandatory check. To determine if a hunting location is within a mandatory check area, or to find the nearest DNR deer check station, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

“In a short amount of time, without many deer tested from these areas, we are finding more CWD-positive deer,” Stewart said. “This is concerning. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for hunters from the surrounding areas that are outside of mandatory check locations to have their deer tested, too.”

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids or the carcass of a diseased animal.

To learn more about chronic wasting disease, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

Minnesota

The following press release was issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 15, 2017 (http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2017/11/15/7-deer-test-presumptive-positive-in-southeasts-cwd-management-zone/):

7 deer test presumptive positive in southeast’s CWD management zone

– Final results for area 603 expected this week

Preliminary tests show that seven deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone during the first firearms deer season may be infected with chronic wasting disease. 3

Hunters harvested three of the seven suspect deer near Preston in deer permit area 603, where 11 other deer tested positive during last year’s CWD surveillance efforts. Three others were harvested in Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park, which is still within area 603 but west of the core disease area. The remaining deer was harvested east of Wykoff and north of the park.

Test results from deer permit areas surrounding 603 aren’t yet available and must be analyzed to assess the full extent of the disease and whether or not it has spread outside of the disease management zone.

Once all sampling is completed and test results received, the Department of Natural Resources will follow its CWD response plan and determine next steps, which may include boundary changes to area 603 and additional deer hunting opportunities for the public or landowners.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said it isn’t clear whether the additional positives indicate a westward expansion of the disease or individual deer movements, given all the presumptive positive deer were adult males.

Testing continues on suspect deer and in 603

CWD testing is a two-step process. The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive. A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.

The DNR expects final test results and disease confirmations for all seven deer soon. Those results and any future positives in area 603 will be posted on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Since the archery deer season began in mid-September, 700 samples have been collected in area 603. Hunters brought in 499 of those samples during the first firearms deer season, which began Nov. 4 and concluded Nov. 12. Results are pending on 40 of those deer.

“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”

Hunters are reminded that mandatory testing of all adult deer harvested in area 603 continues throughout the 3B season (which starts Saturday, Nov. 18 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 26), as well during the remaining archery, muzzleloader and late seasons. Check stations are located in Preston and Chatfield.

The DNR also will open voluntary surveillance stations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18-19 in Rushford and Houston. The DNR encourages hunters who harvest deer around the disease management zone, in deer permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349, to participate in voluntary sampling at these locations in order to collect as many samples as possible. 4

Check the DNR’s website, mndnr.gov/cwdcheck, for specific information on check station locations, additional CWD information and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises people not to eat meat from animals known to have CWD. Go to www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd for more information.

Montana

The following press release was issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on November 8, 2017 (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1016.html):

CWD sample comes back suspect, second sample submitted

A chronic wasting disease sample collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in late October from a hunter-killed deer was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

The sample was collected from a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 510 south of Billings. The animal was killed in an area with a mixture of private and public land 10 miles southeast of Bridger. A second sample collected from the animal is being sent to the lab at Colorado State University for further testing, with results expected next week. If the result is positive, it will mark the first time CWD has appeared in wild deer, elk or moose in Montana.

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the suspect sample and landowners in the area where the deer was harvested. Though typically it takes one sample test to determine whether an animal is positive for CWD, that wasn’t the case here. Though the sample is considered suspect at this point, it is very rare that a suspect sample isn’t ultimately found positive. Therefore, FWP is moving forward as if the deer will ultimately be determined positive for CWD.

“We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this, and are hopeful the prevalence will be low as we work toward managing the disease.”

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which was presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on Tuesday and is now open for public comment.

In accordance with the response plan, FWP director Martha Williams assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection. The incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team. 5

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.

CWD is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds. All the states and provinces that border Montana, other than Idaho and British Columbia, have found CWD in their wild cervids. The closest positive to Montana was in Wyoming, about 8 miles south of the Montana border and less than 50 miles southeast of where Montana’s suspect deer was harvested.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

 Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.

 Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.

 Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.

 Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove all of these parts.)

FWP is currently in year one of a revamped CWD surveillance program. Department staff are collecting CWD samples from hunters in this year’s priority area of south central Montana. Most samples are collected from game check stations and cooperating meat processors and taxidermists. Hunters who submit a sample will receive a card with a sample number. That number can be checked online along with the list of results at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Should this suspect sample be determined to be positive, FWP will move quickly to communicate with local landowners, government agencies and the public about plans for a special hunt. The success of any CWD hunt will depend largely on the cooperation from everyone involved.

In the meantime, FWP will be encouraging all hunters harvesting deer within that area (hunting districts 502 and 510) to get them sampled. This can be done by visiting the Laurel check station, 6

which is open on weekends, or by contacting or visiting the FWP regional office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

For more information and to look at test results, go online to fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

Note: Confirmation testing results were released on November 15, 2017: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1019.html.

The following press release was issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on November 14, 2017 (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1018.html):

Second deer found suspect for CWD

A second mule deer buck from hunting district 510 was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested about 3 miles south of Belfry. A second sample from the buck is being tested by the lab at Colorado State University, with results expected next week. This is the second mule deer to be found suspect for CWD within the last week.

Last Tuesday, FWP got word that a sample from a buck harvested about 10 southeast of Bridger was found to be suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck is being tested to see if the animal is indeed CWD positive.

In response to the initial detection, FWP director Martha Williams created an incident command team. The incident command team is being led by Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor.

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the new suspect sample. Much of the area where the animal was harvested is public land.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

 Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.

 Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.

 Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.

 Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montana hunters need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD positive state. Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class II landfill. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at a check station within the area or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing.

The area where both suspect samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer in within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call the FWP Region 5 office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which is open for public comment. In accordance with the response plan the incident command team will define an initial response area around where the infected animals were harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. The most efficient and cost-effective way to test for CWD is by collecting samples from harvested animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD

Wisconsin

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on November 10, 2017 (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIDATCP/bulletins/1c3d998):

DATCP quarantines Iowa County deer breeding farm after connection to Waupaca County hunting ranch CWD investigation

MADISON – Confirmation of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in two white-tailed deer shot on a hunting ranch in Waupaca County has led to another farm in Iowa County being quarantined, Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test results today.

The bucks, both 4 years old, were killed on the 84-acre hunting ranch in Waupaca, but originated from a 15-acre breeding farm in Mineral Point, Wisconsin that contains 110 white-tailed deer, according to the owner’s most recent registration records. Both deer were natural additions to the breeding farm and were moved to the Waupaca hunting ranch in September of this year.

Neither animal reportedly showed clinical signs of CWD. Both were sampled in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of deer that die or are killed on a hunting ranch.

McGraw placed a quarantine on the Iowa County farm, which allows live deer to move by special permit only to the Waupaca hunting ranch; the Waupaca hunting ranch is already quarantined because of previous findings of CWD.

The DATCP Animal Health Division will continue the investigation into each animal’s history and trace movements of deer to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 14, 2017 (http://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=4382):

Baiting and feeding ban will begin Dec. 1, 2017 for Monroe County after positive CWD detection confirmed in Vernon County

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in northeastern Vernon County which already has a prohibition on baiting and feeding due to a previous detection in the area. As required by law, this finding will initiate a baiting and feeding ban for Monroe County, effective Dec. 1, 2017. Since Monroe County is adjacent to a county with a CWD positive test result, the ban will be in place for a 2-year period however individuals interested in baiting or feeding deer should know that if any additional positive test results occur over the next two years, the ban will be extended accordingly. 9

The 1-year-old doe was harvested in Greenwood township and is the first confirmed positive in Vernon County. To find out if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, the DNR will conduct disease surveillance within a 10-mile radius around the positive location.

State law requires that the Wisconsin DNR enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. The two-year baiting and feeding ban will take effect for Monroe County beginning Dec. 1, 2017.

Since baiting and feeding is already prohibited in Vernon County, this finding re-starts the clock on a three-year baiting and feeding ban there due to this CWD detection.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “bait” and “CWD” respectively.

Wyoming

The following press release was issued by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on November 15, 2017 (https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/CWD-found-in-deer-hunt-area-near-Meeteetse):

CWD found in deer hunt area near Meeteetse

Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department diagnosed chronic wasting disease (CWD) for the first time in Deer Hunt Area 118 near Meeteetse, Wyoming. The Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed CWD in a buck white-tailed deer harvested by a hunter on Nov. 3 near Gooseberry Creek.

Deer Hunt Area 118 is bordered on three sides by hunt areas where CWD has been found previously. A map of the CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

For many years Game and Fish has been asking hunters to help with monitoring the disease by getting their harvested animals tested. Game and Fish also shares the CDC recommendation that hunters should consider getting their animals tested if harvested in a known CWD endemic area and not to consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.

Last year, Game and Fish personnel collected and tested more than 3,350 CWD samples throughout the state, a significant increase from past years. This year Game and Fish will sample a similar number.

Please visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.

Recent Publications

Chronic Wasting Disease Prion Strain Emergence and Host Range Expansion

Allen Herbst, Camilo Duque Velásquez, Elizabeth Triscott, Judd M. Aiken, and Debbie McKenzie

Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(9):1598-1600. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2309.161474

Abstract:

Human and mouse prion proteins share a structural motif that regulates resistance to common chronic wasting disease (CWD) prion strains. Successful transmission of an emergent strain of CWD prion, H95+, into mice resulted in infection. Thus, emergent CWD prion strains may have higher zoonotic potential than common strains.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/9/16-1474_article

Assessment of CWD prion shedding in deer saliva with occupancy modeling

Kristen A. Davenport, Brittany A. Mosher, Brian M. Brost, Davin M. Henderson, Nathaniel D. Denkers, Amy V. Nalls, Erin McNulty, Candace K. Mathiason and Edward A. Hoover

J. Clin. Microbiol. doi:10.1128/JCM.01243-17

Abstract:

Detection of prions is difficult due to the peculiarity of the pathogen, which is a misfolded form of a normal protein. The specificity and sensitivity of detection methods are imperfect in complex samples, including excreta. Here, we combined optimized prion amplification procedures with a statistical method that accounts for false positive and false negative errors to test deer saliva for chronic wasting disease (CWD) prions. This approach enabled us to discriminate shedding of prions in saliva and detection of prions in saliva — a distinction crucial to understanding the role of prion shedding in disease transmission and for diagnosis. We found that assay sensitivity and specificity were indeed imperfect, and we were able to draw several conclusions pertinent to CWD biology from our analyses: (1) shedding of prions in saliva increases with time post-inoculation, but is common throughout the pre-clinical phase of disease; (2) shedding propensity is influenced neither by sex nor by prion protein genotype at codon 96; and (3) the source of prion-containing inoculum used to infect deer affects the likelihood of prion shedding in saliva — oral inoculation of deer with CWD(+) saliva resulted in 2.77 times the likelihood of prion shedding in saliva compared to inoculation with CWD(+) brain. These results are pertinent to horizontal CWD transmission in wild cervids. Moreover, the approach described is applicable to other diagnostic assays with imperfect detection.

http://jcm.asm.org/content/early/2017/11/02/JCM.01243-17.abstract

 

Key Sportsman Groups Endorse Rep. Kind’s Bipartisan Bill to Manage and Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

 

La Crosse, WI – Today, key sportsman groups endorsed Rep. Kind’s bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act. The bill will support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies as well as support research regarding the causes of chronic wasting disease and methods to control the further spread of the disease. CWD positive deer have been found in or within 10 miles of Grant, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Monroe, Juneau, Adams, Portage, and Wood counties.

Below are comments from groups who have endorsed the bill: 

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

“The funding and help with research outlined in Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner’s legislation would give the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources the kind of support it needs as it grapples with the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state,” said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. “Wisconsin’s deer herds are critically important to the state’s more than 600,000 gun hunters and 225,000 bow hunters. They represent an estimated $1 billion in annual economic benefits for the state.”

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has long recognized that increased attention to, and funding for, regular screening and testing of cervids at the state level is necessary to ensure a timely response is possible in the event of a Chronic Wasting Disease outbreak,” said Brent Miller CSF’s Senior Director, Northeastern States. “We commend the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Congressman Kind, and Congressman Sensenbrenner on this critical wildlife management issue.”

National Wildlife Federation

“Chronic Wasting Disease poses a grave threat to North America’s deer, elk, and moose herds, and the hunters and communities that depend on them,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Yet as this terrible disease spreads rapidly across our country, it’s received neither the urgent attention nor sufficient resources from Washington to combat it. That is about to change thanks to the leadership of two great sportsmen, Representatives Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner, who understand how serious this threat and why immediate action is needed. The National Wildlife Federation enthusiastically supports their bill to provide states and tribes the support required to respond to this critical threat to America’s wildlife.”

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance

“In the last decade, while CWD has relentlessly spread to new areas and increased in prevalence, the funding and resources to fight it have dwindled,” said Matt Dunfee, Program Coordinator for the CWD Alliance. “Given that CWD may pose the greatest risk to the sustainability of North America’s deer, elk, and moose populations, it is beyond vital that we ramp up the funding and resources needed to manage this disease. This proposed legislation goes a long way in getting the wildlife management community the tools they need to fight CWD at a level appropriate to the severity of the disease.”

National Deer Alliance

“At the North American Deer Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, TX, the states represented made it clear that more funding was needed for CWD monitoring and research. We are glad that our coalition of conservation groups was able to work with Congressman Kind and Congressman Sensenbrenner to craft this important legislation,” said the National Deer Alliance.

Quality Deer Management Association

“The importance of healthy white-tailed deer populations to the future of wildlife conservation and our hunting heritage cannot be overemphasized,” said QDMA CEO Brian Murphy.  “Expenditures by whitetail hunters account for nearly half of the entire U.S. hunting economy which employs nearly 500,000 Americans, contributes tens of billions to our economy, and funds significant portions of state wildlife agency budgets for both game and nongame species.”

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

“Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer family, and may be one of the biggest challenges in modern wildlife conservation history,” stated Virgil Moore, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “This legislative package, if passed, will move forward and strengthen state and tribal chronic wasting disease management strategies by providing critical funding to help protect our nation’s wildlife.”

With 88% of Wisconsin’s 763,384 hunters participating in deer hunting and an economic impact of $2.5 billion, it is critical that action is taken to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The bill is co-sponsored by Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). It has three main components.

  • Authorizing funding to state and tribal agencies responsible for wildlife management to implement management strategies to address CWD.
  • Directing USDA to make grants to expand and accelerate applied research on CWD.
  • Directing USDA and the Department of Interior to work cooperatively with the states to conduct research and implement state CWD response plans to reduce the spread and prevalence of the disease.

Testing confirms CWD in mule deer buck from south central Montana

A second test on a tissue sample from a buck harvested in hunting district 510, south of Billings, has come back positive for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested Oct. 22 about 10 miles southeast of Bridger. Initial testing received by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks last week showed the animal was suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck was sent to Colorado State University for follow up testing.

“These were the results we expected,” said Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor and CWD incident command team lead. “Fortunately, we have a well-thought out response plan that will guide our steps moving forward.”  

The first test of a sample from a second buck was reported back as suspect on Tuesday. This buck was harvested on Nov. 5 about 3 miles south of Belfry, also in HD 510. A second sample from the animal is currently undergoing confirmation testing. Those results are expected next week.

In response to these detections, FWP director Martha Williams established an incident command team on Nov. 7. The team is comprised of FWP staff and representatives from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, Montana Department of Livestock, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Crow Nation.

The incident command team is implementing a response outlined in FWP’s CWD Response Plan, which is currently out for public comment. The plan calls for establishing an initial response area for the purposes of a Special CWD Hunt. This hunt, should it occur, would need to be approved by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission and would be held after the general hunting season. The goal of the hunt would be to harvest enough mule deer to establish disease prevalence and distribution.

For Hunters

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never eat meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal sampled.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montanans need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD-positive state.  Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class 2 landfill. A class 2 landfill accepts all solid waste, except regulated hazardous waste. Most major landfills in Montana are class 2. However, if you have any questions, contact city or county public works director. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at one of the check stations operated in Big Timber, Billings, Columbus, Laurel, or Lavina on Saturdays and Sundays during the general season or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the priority surveillance area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing. 

Background

The area where the suspect and positive samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter-harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number used to check test results. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call or come to the FWP Region 5 office on Lake Elmo Drive in Billings at 406-247-2940 from 8-5 weekdays.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Second deer found suspect for CWD

 A second mule deer buck from hunting district 510 was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested about 3 miles south of Belfry. A second sample from the buck is being tested by the lab at Colorado State University, with results expected next week. This is the second mule deer to be found suspect for CWD within the last week.  

Last Tuesday, FWP got word that a sample from a buck harvested about 10 southeast of Bridger was found to be suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck is being tested to see if the animal is indeed CWD positive.

In response to the initial detection, FWP director Martha Williams created an incident command team. The incident command team is being led by Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor.  

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the new suspect sample. Much of the area where the animal was harvested is public land.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montana hunters need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD positive state.  Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class II landfill. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at a check station within the area or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing. 

The area where both suspect samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer in within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call the FWP Region 5 office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which is open for public comment. In accordance with the response plan the incident command team will define an initial response area around where the infected animals were harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. The most efficient and cost-effective way to test for CWD is by collecting samples from harvested animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.