March 5, 2012
The remaining North Dakota deer samples tested for chronic wasting disease are negative, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department. A mule deer doe taken last fall in western Grant County during opening weekend of the deer gun season had tested positive for CWD. In all, more than 2,500 targeted and hunter-harvested samples from 2011 were sent to a lab at Michigan State University.
Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 22,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD. The three deer to test positive were mule deer taken from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota. The first two were during the 2009 and 2010 deer gun seasons. All three were within 15 miles of each other.
The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In addition to unit 3F2, samples during the 2011 deer gun season were collected from units in the central third of the state. The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick. CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.