Preliminary test results indicate the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) agent was present in 16 hunter-harvested deer collected in Hampshire County during the 2009 deer firearms hunting season.
“As part of our agency’s ongoing CWD monitoring effort, samples were collected from 1,091 hunter-harvested deer brought to game checking stations in Hampshire County and one station near the southern Hampshire County line in Hardy County,” noted Frank Jezioro, Director for the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR).
The 16 CWD positive deer included one 4.5 year-old doe, one 2.5 year-old doe, one 1.5 year-old buck, 10 2.5 year-old bucks, and three 3.5 year-old bucks. Thirteen of the latest positive deer were harvested within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area (i.e., that portion of Hampshire County located North of U.S. Route 50). However, three were located outside the containment area but still within Hampshire County. The area in Hampshire County from which CWD has been detected continues to expand, and the number of infected deer detected this year is 2.5 times more than last year.
CWD has now been detected in a total of 62 deer in Hampshire County (i.e., two road-killed deer, one in 2005 and one in 2008; four deer collected by the WVDNR in 2005; five deer collected by the WVDNR in 2006; one hunter-harvest deer taken during the 2006 deer season; three deer collected by the WVDNR in 2007; six hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2007 deer season; 11 deer collected by the WVDNR in 2008; six hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2008 deer season; eight deer collected by the WVDNR in 2009; and 16 hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2009 deer season).
“The WVDNR will continue to update management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state as information from deer testing within West Virginia is gathered and scientists across the country provide more information on how to combat CWD in white-tailed deer,” Jezioro said.
So far, the following disease management actions have been placed into operation by the WVDNR within Hampshire County:
- Implemented CWD testing efforts designed to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease;
- Established antlerless deer hunting regulations designed to increase hunter opportunity to harvest female deer, adjust deer populations to desired levels and reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer;
- Established deer carcass transport restrictions designed to lower the risk of moving the disease to other locations;
- Established regulations designed to prohibit the feeding and baiting of deer within the affected area and reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer.
“Despite our agency’s best efforts, we continue to struggle with CWD in Hampshire County,” said Jezioro. “I am particularly concerned that some individuals are not complying with regulations prohibiting the feeding and baiting of deer within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area.”
The WVDNR intends to renew its outreach efforts with the public on the critical need for compliance with this regulation. In addition, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken if these problems are not resolved.
“As we strive to meet this wildlife disease challenge and implement appropriate management strategies, the continued support and involvement of landowners and hunters will be essential,” Jezioro said. “The WVDNR remains committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions as we go forward.”