LINCOLN, Neb. – Testing of deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) along the Kansas border produced negative test results.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in southern Red Willow County and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in northern Decatur County last month tested 63 deer and found no CWD.
The study was initiated by a CWD-positive deer taken by a Nebraska hunter last November along Beaver Creek near Marion in Red Willow County and three CWD-positive deer taken by Kansas hunters along Sappa Creek in Decatur County in northwest Kansas.
“In response to the CWD positives that were detected during the Nebraska and Kansas firearm deer seasons, it was important to attempt to determine the infection rate of deer in this area,” said the Commission’s Brian Perks, a southwest district wildlife biologist.
On Feb. 11-12, Nebraska biologists harvested 29 deer near Beaver Creek between Lebanon, Neb., and the Kansas state line, while officials in Kansas harvested 34 deer along Sappa Creek in Decatur County. All of the deer from both states tested negative.
Perks said that because white-tailed deer are very mobile, it is probable that deer travel back and forth between the Beaver and Sappa Creek drainages, and the occurrences of CWD in the two drainages likely are linked.
CWD surveillance in Nebraska began in 2000. To date, 32,998 deer have been tested as a result of tissue collections from hunter-harvested deer. Also, biologists have tested numerous deer from disease study projects in other areas of the state and from reports of sick deer investigations. Since surveillance began, 133 deer have tested positive for CWD statewide. Perks said the Beaver Creek incidence was the first case of CWD detected in southwest Nebraska. He said other positives have been confined to the northwest region of the state with the exception of two isolated cases near Grand Island.
“Biologists cannot predict the long-term impact CWD will have in southwest Nebraska,” Perks said. “We expect that CWD will be detected in the Beaver Creek area again, but research indicates that CWD occurs in less than one percent of Nebraska’s deer population.”
Perks said biologists are using the best information available to manage this disease. “We plan to continue CWD surveillance through voluntary tissue collections at game check stations during firearm deer season and will investigate all sick animal reports.”
Perks said landowners are encouraged to report to the Commission deer appearing sick or exhibiting abnormal behavior.