CWD control efforts produce one positive from culling

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Clint McCoy, an ODNR Division of Wildlife deer biologist, discusses CWD with residents of Marion and Wyandot counties during a public meeting. CWD has been found in deer in Wyandot County.

The numbers are almost all in and it doesn’t look good for either the deer or those who advocated for culling of the whitetails in Marion and Wyandot counties in order to hinder the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

As of April 15, only one of the 180 or so whitetails taken by sharpshooters during a four-night purge in March has tested positive for the deadly disease. Three tests were still pending and the Ohio Division of Wildlife was waiting for final confirmation on the one positive from a federal lab.

The situation adds fuel to the argument some Marion County farmers and outdoorsmen have made against culling, quarantines, baiting bans, increased harvests and similar measures, saying they have had no effect on the spread of the disease and have cost taxpayers $100,000,000 nationwide.

They also fear deer populations will dwindle and there will be no animals left for their families to watch and enjoy.

Their opinions are based on a study by the American Cervid Alliance that essentially said all measures taken by states to curb CWD have been useless.

Robert Fragale and Todd Sims, both of Marion County, have taken the argument against culling and other control measures to public meetings and to the Ohio Wildlife Council.

But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears so far. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is sticking to its control plan as prescribed by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. They say states that have abandoned CWD control measures have suffered skyrocketing numbers of sick deer and other cervids.

In April, the council approved expanded hunting next year for the CWD surveillance area that encompasses part of Hardin, Wyandot and Marion counties. Archery season will start early there and be open Sept. 10, 2022 to Feb. 5, 2023. And an early gun season will run Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 2022. All these dates will be in addition to the statewide youth gun and regular deer hunting seasons next fall and winter.

Fragale and Sims attended the April council meeting and left as soon as the new regulations that expanded hunting in the surveillance area were approved. They appeared unhappy that their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Council member Dr. Paul Mechling, DVM, commented at the end of the meeting that their arguments carried no validity.

Categories: CWD, Ohio – Jane Beathard, Whitetail Deer

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