Can we stop an invasive species or a disease such as CWD?
My brother Paul and I were recently discussing the latest efforts of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the state Department of Agriculture to contain chronic wasting disease now that it is in the wild deer population. To put it mildly, he was skeptical about the prospects for success.
“As you know, there have been many ecological control efforts to stop various invasive species from spreading,” he said. “I imagine that some efforts have slowed the spread, but I wonder how long the effort will be and at what cost? Will the economic gain be worth it?
“Face it, how many success stories have there been?”
Well, let’s see … we have fought the chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, gypsy moths, zebra mussels, rusty crayfish, emerald ash borers, Japanese beetles, hemlock wooly adelgid, multiflora rose, purple loosestrife, house sparrows, starlings – and now we have CWD killing deer and wild hogs ruining the landscape.
Successes – well, we have … none that I can think of.
I really hope that our efforts to control CWD and wild hogs are more successful, but let’s face it – my brother makes a good point and asks important questions.
What is his less-than-optimistic conclusion with respect to CWD and deer hunting?
“CWD will continue to change hunting in the same direction it is already going – and going very rapidly. Demographically, young people are not taking up
the sport. As you know, hunting for small game animals is not the prop that is still supporting the industry, it is deer,” he said.
“CWD will just make killing a deer that much more inconvenient and eating one that much less palatable.”