CWD UPDATE JANUARY 31, 2003

An additional four deer have been confirmed with CWD in Nebraska. The latest positives were all from the panhandle region of the state. Two adult whitetail bucks from Sioux County, one whitetail doe from Kimball County and an adult mule deer buck from Morrill County are the latest additions. There have now been a total of eleven positives, all from the known endemic area, as a result of samples collected during the 2002 firearms season. The results from an additional 725 samples are still pending.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks report that six deer have tested positive for CWD, 5 from samples collected during the 2002 firearm season and one target surveillance deer. The results of 1,857 tests have been returned with the six positives being the first from this round of testing. Previous positives in South Dakota included a deer in Fall River County, an elk on Wind Cave National Park and a deer from within the city limits of Rapid City. The new positives included three hunter harvested male mule deer from Fall River County, a female and a male hunter harvested whitetail from Custer County and a targeted surveillance male whitetail from Pennington County. Still pending are the results from an additional 28 samples. A few additional elk heads from the just ended elk season are being processed for sample submission.

A bill that was introduced in the Colorado legislature to ban canned hunts has been killed by a 10-3 vote by members of the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports that four mule deer harvested in eastern Wyoming, outside of the area where CWD had previously been found were positive. Three were northwest of Casper and one northwest of Laramie. All are from areas adjacent to known CWD areas. To date, 47 positives were found from 1,427 tests.

Scott Hassett, newly appointed secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, does not plan to change the agencies approach to fighting CWD. He also announced that he will not make any changes to the team that is directing the agencies effort to combat CWD, with Tom Hauge remaining as the CWD coordinator for the state. He did appoint Randy Stark as new Chief Game Warden to replace the retired Tom Harelson to the team. He stated that the DNRs priority was the wild deer herd in Wisconsin and to prevent CWD from spreading and the collapse of the wild deer herd.

The Indianan DNR reports that over half of the samples from the fall hunting season have tested negative for CWD. To date, a little over half of the 1,361 samples have been tested. Tests on the remaining samples are currently being conducted. If any sample is positive or if CWD is found within 40 miles of Indiana’s border, the DNR plans to process additional samples.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports that the first 471 samples of 1,493 submitted did not turn up any positive results. The tests were run at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study labs, which has been overrun with samples from numerous southern states. The 2003 appropriations bill currently in the U. S. congress contains 16 million dollars for CWD work. Fifteen million would be administered by the USDA for monitoring and management of the disease and one million would go to research for animal diseases like CWD. A House-Senate conference committee that is charged with reconciling the spending bills from each chamber must approve these funds.

A second captive elk has tested positive in Minnesota (Sterns County). The first was from an Atkin County facility. This Sterns County farm is known for moving a large number of elk and officials estimate that animals from this facility may have been moved to up to 40 additional facilities in the past few months. This is the second elk from the facility to be diagnosed with CWD and the farm has been depopulated. Additionally, authorities report that an additional elk from that facility died of CWD like symptoms but was not tested at the time of death.