CWD UPDATE November 3, 2003

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports 5 new cases of CWD from their disease eradication zone. Three of these animals were harvested during the archery season and two were shot by agency personnel after reports of sick looking deer. They included a yearling buck, a two-year-old buck, a yearling doe and two four to five year old does. Each hunter who harvested one of these deer will receive a $200 check from Whitetails Unlimited as will the landowner on whose land each deer was harvested as part of the reward program initiated to entice hunters to submit the heads of harvested deer for testing. Landowners where the two shot by the agency were located will receive a $200 check also.

Wyoming Game and Fish report a positive test for CWD on a mule deer buck harvested by a hunter in the Big Horn Basin. This is the first case of the disease in the Basin and represents an extension of the area where CWD has been found in that state. The Department has set a goal of collecting 600 samples from the Big Horn Basin this hunting season for testing.

A hunter in Montana shot an elk that had escaped from a game farm in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. After the hunter shot the elk, he found tags on the animal. Montana Game, Fish and Parks traced the animal to a game farm near Climax, Saskatchewan. Officials in Canada did not have any reports of escapes from this farm. Montana officials will test the animal for CWD. This highlights the need for vigilance in surveillance efforts, especially along borders with states that have reported positive cases of CWD.

Wisconsin’s Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Agency report a third case of CWD from a game farm in Portage County. The latest case was a 3-½ year old buck shot by a hunter on a paid hunt inside the facility. The previous two positives from this farm had been imported into the farm, however this one had been born on the premises. The facility has been under quarantine since the first case in September of 2002, however, the owner has appealed a depopulation order for his herd. To date, 11 farm-raised animals have tested positive in Wisconsin on four separate facilities.

The North Carolina Natural Resources Commission has set a deadline of January 1, 2004 for all individuals holding captive cervids to apply for a license to hold the animals and to maintain them in facilities that meet the Commission’s requirements. The license has been required since 1990 but it is believed that several individuals hold pet deer and other cervids in backyard pens and are not aware of the requirements. After January 1, animals will be confiscated and owners cited. The Commission will not accept applications for new facilities, just applications for those who already hold cervids.