CWD Roundup - August 2020

August 6, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

CWD Roundup is the National Deer Alliance’s (NDA) bi-monthly update on all things chronic wasting disease (CWD). We’ll provide the latest updates on CWD spread, research and policy from across the nation. Updates are provided alphabetically by state.


In mid-July, the Kansas Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of CWD in a captive deer herd in Osage County. While CWD has been detected in wild deer populations in many western Kansas counties, this is the first documented positive case in eastern Kansas. It’s also the first positive detection in captive herd since 2001. The Kansas Department of Agriculture is working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) to mitigate risk to the captive cervid industry as well as the local wild deer population.


On June 5, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expanded current deer feeding and attractant bans in the state to include Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Rice, Scott and Washington counties. This expansion follows the discovery of CWD in a wild deer in Dakota County in March. The bans went into effect on July 1. The Minnesota DNR also removed 5 counties from the deer feeding and attractant ban list, bringing the total counties covered to 32.

On June 12, Minnesota Reps. Rick Hansen (DFL-52A), Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B) and Anne Claflin (DFL-54A) introduced Minnesota house file 28 (HF 28). HF 28 modifies important statutory provisions on farmed cervids and cervid transportation. Specifically, HF 28 amends the existing statute with more strict language with respect to escaped farmed cervids procedures, farmed cervids identification requirements and cervid carcass transportation rules.

On July 20, the Minnesota DNR announced a new process for hunters to get their deer tested for CWD. This year, testing will not be mandatory in an effort to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, hunters in designated CWD zones were required to visit a DNR sampling station staffed by crews that removed lymph nodes for testing. This year, due to coronavirus concerns, those stations will be replaced by drop boxes for hunters to deposit deer heads or lymph nodes for testing.


In late July, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) Commission tabled a proposed rule change impacting CWD Management Zone delineation. The proposed change would have shrunk CWD Management Zones from 25-mile radii to 10-mile radii around areas where the first CWD cases were found in the state in 2018. Additionally, the proposal would have allowed supplemental feeding in CWD Surveillance Zones.


On June 25, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a management plan to address chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose statewide. Under the approved plan, hunters can now have their game tested for CWD without paying a fee. Additionally, hunting districts within 40 miles of a hunting district with positive cases of CWD will see more focused testing efforts for targeted surveillance.


On June 25, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) expanded all three of its CWD Disease Management Areas (DMAs). DMAs have grown collectively by 1,286 square miles, or 16%, from 2019 to 2020 and now cover 9,466 square miles of the state

On July 25, the PGC Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a new Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan. The plan focuses on prevention, surveillance and management of CWD. Hunters can contribute to CWD management in Pennsylvania by participating in Enhanced Surveillance Units (ESUs). ESUs are areas around certain high priority CWD-positive animals, and samples collected within an ESU will determine the extent of infection in areas at the leading edge of disease expansion.


On May 21, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPW) adopted rules to implement a CWD Containment Zone (CZ) and a Surveillance Zone (SZ) in Val Verde County after two deer tested positive for CWD in December, implement a new SZ in Kimble County in response to the discovery of CWD in that county, and to slightly expand the current CZ in Medina, Bandera, and Uvalde counties after additional cases of the disease were detected.


In late May, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced CWD testing results from 2019 sampling season (April 1, 2019 through March 31 of this year). The DNR collected 19,386 samples – an increase of roughly 2,100 samples from the prior year. Of the majority analyzed, there were 1,334 deer that tested positive for CWD — up from 1,061 deer during the 2018 sampling season. Overall, positive tests were up 25% from the 2018 sampling season.

On June 9, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed that two deer at a Trempealeau County hunting ranch tested positive for CWD. The positive samples came from two 3 ½-year-old whitetail bucks. As a result, DATCP has quarantined all 505 animals on the 1,597-acre ranch.


On July 17, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved the Wyoming Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan. The approved plan will guide how Game and Fish approaches management and research on the disease in Wyoming and presents a suite of options for on-the-ground action.

Ontario, Canada

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has recently posted the “Proposal to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease entering Ontario” on the Environmental Registry. MNRF is seeking public input on the proposal to increase protections for the province's wildlife populations from CWD. The proposal seeks to do the following:

  1. Prohibit import of all species of live cervids into Ontario while allowing for certain exceptions
  2. Prohibit the movement of live captive cervids between locations within Ontario while allowing for exceptions
  3. Expand the existing prohibition on the possession and use of lures, scents and attractants made from parts of cervids
  4. Expand the existing prohibition on import into Ontario of high-risk parts of cervids hunted in other jurisdictions