The remaining 1,000 North Dakota deer samples that were tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis are negative, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department.
In all, more than 3,000 targeted and hunter-harvested samples from 2009 were sent to a lab in Minnesota. One mule deer taken last fall in unit 3F2 in western Sioux County tested positive for CWD, the first positive sample taken from a North Dakota animal.
Grove said one positive test result is not cause for alarm as the deer population remains healthy. “We’ve had a plan in place because of the presence of CWD outside of the state’s borders,” he added. “It is of high importance, however, that hunters continue to provide heads for testing.”
The deer population in unit 3F2 is above management goals, Grove said, so sampling efforts and hunter pressure will continue to be put on the population in the unit again this fall.
In addition to sampling 3F2, the Game and Fish Department will continue its three-year rotation of the Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program by sampling deer this fall from units in the eastern third of the state. In addition, all moose and elk harvested in the state, regardless of hunting units, are eligible for sampling.
Since the department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 16,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.
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.