Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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CWD threat to our wild deer is only growing

Tom VeneskyIt's all very disturbing.

Since a captive deer from an Adams County farm was determined to have chronic wasting disease on Oct. 10, there have been a few developments that really haven't reduced the threat of the disease entering into the wild population.

In fact, that risk has increased, in my opinion.

Last week, when shooters from the state and federal agriculture departments went to the Adams County farm to put down the remaining 10 deer so they could be tested, one escaped. Busted through a fence and took off into the wild. As of Friday, it had yet to be found, according to state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Samantha Krepps.

It's not know if the deer has CWD, which is spread easily through the population. But considering the deer inhabited the same property as the one that perished from the disease, there's a chance. It's scary to think that a potentially-infected deer is running free, likely coming in contact with wild deer — a situation that is highly likely with the rut entering full swing.

It makes me wonder how the deer escaped in the first place. Captive deer are frequently shipped from farm to farm, so they're used to being herded and moved. Couldn't there have been a better, more controlled way to euthanize the deer rather than shooting?

The other development that's disturbing is the agriculture department has acknowledged that the infected deer could have been in contact with other captive deer that have been moved around to as many as 100 farms in the state. Krepps said the department is working to track all of those deer, but in the meantime there is no prohibition on farms in the state moving deer around.

Just a recommendation, Krepps said.

And that's just as scary as the escaped deer running loose.

Think about it. There could be other CWD-infected deer on farms throughout the state, being bought, sold and moved all over.

A temporary ban on transporting captive deer in the state needs to be enacted until this situation is resolved.

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