CWD UPDATE 71 March 1, 2006

The latest update from Wisconsin shows that they have collected 27,147 samples and have results back from 23,853. They have 128 positives so far with 11 of them in the Herd Reduction Zone and the remainder in the Eradication Zone. Since 2002 they have sampled 99,506 deer and have results back from 99,170. They have detected 598 positives with 15 of them in the HRZ.

Following disease control efforts in January and February 2006, Alberta documented another four cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer in the province. This brings the total to eight cases of CWD confirmed in wild deer in Alberta since the first case in September 2005. The federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the province’s latest findings on February 16 and 17. The latest cases were discovered as a result of disease control actions that removed 837 wild deer in the vicinity of Empress and Acadia Valley. The program began in late January in southeast Alberta near the locations where four wild deer were found with CWD in late 2005. Alberta’s first case of CWD in wild deer was found in September 2005 about 30 kilometers southeast of Oyen, near the Saskatchewan border. Additional information, including a link to a map of positives can be found at www3.gov.ab.ca/srd/fw/diseases/CWD/.

Kentucky Senate Bill 129, currently under consideration by the Legislature of the State of Kentucky would transfer authority over captive cervid facilities from the Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources to the state department of Agriculture. Currently the responsibility for regulation of the captive cervid industry is shared by both agencies. Supporters claim that the industry could keep CWD out of the state while the opposition points to numerous instances of CWD in captive cervids as a reason for maintaining authority with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The bill would also require the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to test a minimum of 2% of the hunter harvested wild cervids in the state for CWD on an annual basis.

An Indiana legislator has introduced a bill to make canned hunts legal in that state. This follows the successful prosecution of an individual for tranquillizing deer immediately prior to hunts behind high wire. A telling video of the hunts can be found at www.real-hunters.com. Former Indiana DNR Commissioner Kyle Hufer banned all canned hunts last year after this much publicized case. The facility operator in the case that predicated all this collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from people, who killed deer at his fenced-in farm. The fenced enclosures weren’t hundreds of acres. Most were the size of a large back yard. Beaters were used to make sure the deer kept moving past customers. If the customer was really slow to aim and shoot, the deer were drugged. Sick and dying deer were propped in front of killers who paid thousands of dollars to shoot them. The proposed legislation would make all of this legal.

In the South Dakota CWD Surveillance period of July 1, 2005 to March 1, 2006 a total of 3,235 samples have been collected for CWD surveillance. These samples included 759 elk-754 results returned as not Positive-1 result pending -4 positive, 862 mule deer-858 results returned as not Positive-4 positive, and 1,614 white-tailed deer-1,610 results returned as not Positive-4 positive. To date, South Dakota has found 45 cases of CWD (32 deer and 13 elk) in free ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park accounts for 14 of these animals (6 elk, 8 deer). A total of 12,288 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997.

Deer farmers in West Virginia boycotted a public hearing on proposed regulations governing their endeavors. The hearing was supposed to have been a public debate on deer-pen regulations proposed by state Division of Natural Resources officials. It ended up being a one-sided show of support for the regulations. A lawyer for the deer farmers stated that the legislature had already recommended against the proposed legislation so the hearing was unnecessary and that the issue should be decided in the legislature. The attorney said that if a hearing were to be held, it should be “held in a fair location before the Legislature.” DNR Director Frank Jezioro expressed shock that the deer farmers were unwilling to open and public debate but promised he would advise the Governor of the of the inappropriateness of the meeting he asked them to call.

Kansas Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks reports that the presumptive CWD positive in northwest Kansas has been confirmed by NVSL utilizing the IHC test. The animal was located approximately 14 miles south of the Nebraska border and 14 miles east of the Colorado border in Cheyenne County. The Department has collected and additional 58 deer from the vicinity without finding another positive animal. The positive animal was an adult whitetail doe.