AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine wild deer herds show no signs of Chronic Wasting Disease. In a cooperative venture, biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and animal health officials from the Maine Department of Agriculture and U. S. Department of Agriculture sampled 810 brain tissues from deer harvested through out Maine during the 2003 hunting season. Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal brain wasting disease in deer that has been found in deer herds in several western states and provinces of Canada.
The tissue samples were sent to a federally approved lab at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. for testing. The 810 samples came from hunter harvested deer from throughout the state. The majority of the deer were killed during the firearm season for deer.
This is the third year that Maine has tested for Chronic Wasting Disease in white-tailed deer, and each year, all samples have been free of Chronic Wasting Disease. In 1999, 299 deer from western Maine were sampled, and in 2002, 835 deer were sampled from throughout the state. All samples have tested negative for Chronic Wasting Disease.
All six New England states tested for Chronic Wasting Disease this past year, and all samples were CWD free. The furthest east CWD has been detected is in Wisconsin.
Nationally, there are 46 states that have whitetail deer, and 27 states were sampling for CWD.