CWD: All quiet on deer disease front

St. Paul — The final results are in: Chronic wasting disease wasn’t found in thousands of deer tested in three parts of the state last year.

Deer were tested in the north metro, where a captive red deer tested positive; in the east-central part of the state, which is near a spot where a deer in Wisconsin tested positive; and in the southeast, where a wild deer killed late in 2010 tested positive.

It marks the second year in a row that no wild deer in the southeast have tested positive.

“If it’s there, it’s got to be at such a low level that we’re just not able to pick it up,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program director.

The DNR collected and had tested 1,195 deer killed in 2012 in the CWD management area in the southeast. Those included animals taken during the archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons.

The agency collected and had tested 1,092 samples from permit areas 159, 183, 225, and St. Croix State Park. Surveillance in those areas will be discontinued.

“We didn’t find anything, and Wisconsin didn’t find anything to make us more nervous,” Carstensen said.

Surveillance will continue in the north metro, where a captive European red deer from a herd in North Oaks tested CWD-positive.

The agency in that area collected and had tested 180 deer that were killed by vehicles, via city deer-reduction permits, or by archery hunters in Ramsey and Anoka counties. While no additional animals from that deer farm have tested positive, the herd has not been depopulated.

For the past two years, hunters in the CWD management area – Permit Area 602 – have been able to kill an unlimited number of antlerless deer.

This year, the area will be designated as intensive, rather than unlimited. While deer numbers are down in 602, they’re not “massively down,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big-game program leader.

“We have seen a reduction in the population,” she said. “At the intensive level, we can still stay on top of it and keep the population densities at a lower level.”

And functionally, the harvest may not be all that different, Carstensen said, because very few hunters shoot more than three deer. In the bovine TB area in the northwestern part of the state, for example, that harvest changed very little when the DNR moved from an unlimited to intensive management strategy.

“We’re still going to get ample samples in the CWD area, whether we are unlimited or intensive,” she said.

If no deer with CWD are found in the southeast this fall, it will mark the final year of surveillance there.

Categories: Hunting News, Hunting Top Story, Social Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *