CWD Roundup - June 2020

June 1, 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.

Colorado

In early May, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) discussed results from CPW’s mandatory CWD testing in 79 Game Management Units (GMUs) throughout eastern Colorado in 2019. Over 7,7000 samples were tested for all cervid species. CPW detected CWD in 33 of 54 deer herds, 14 of 43 elk herds, and 2 of 9 moose herds in the sampled GMUs.

Five herds have been found to have a CWD prevalence between 5-10%, 7 herds have prevalence between 10-20%, and 6 herds have prevalence that exceeds 20%. When prevalence reaches 20%, it means 1 out of 5 adult males are infected with CWD.

CPW has announced mandatory CWD testing in 89 GMUs for 2020 seasons throughout western Colorado.

Minnesota

On April 6, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that it “completed its work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to perform targeted culling of deer in localized areas where chronic wasting disease has been detected in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.” In total, 463 individuals were culled through February and March, and 7 tested positive for CWD.

On April 29, the CWD investigation spurred by a Douglas County deer farm CWD detection earlier this year concluded. A total of 8 herds in 6 counties were linked by animal movement and 6 herds were quarantined. All CWD positive deer were found in two herds - one in Douglas County and another in Pine County. Only one site in Chisago County is still populated, and that farm will remain in quarantine for a period of five years.

Missouri 

On May 6, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reported the final CWD results for 2019-2020 hunting seasons. A total of 46 new cases from 11 counties were detected. Twenty-five of the new cases came from nearly 29,000 tissue samples, most of which were hunter-harvested. The remaining 21 cases were detected during post-season targeted culling efforts in January, February, and early March in areas where previous cases of CWD have been found. In an applaudable cooperative effort, 1,390 participating private landowners helped MDC staff remove nearly 2,400 deer in those areas to manage CWD.

Montana

On April 23, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) submitted a proposal that would require hunters to either leave the brain and spinal cord material from their game animal at the kill site or deposit high-risk parts in one of 29 Class II landfills across the state.

On May 16, a white-tailed deer tested positive for CWD in Gallatin County just north of Bozeman. The buck was killed earlier in May after it was seen displaying common symptoms of the disease, including looking skinny and weak. A landowner alerted FWP officials, and the buck was euthanized. Lymph nodes were collected and sent out for testing.

FWP is making preparations to test 15,000 hunter-killed deer, elk or moose for CWD during the coming fall hunting seasons. FWL test 7,000 cervids total last year, 1,100 of which were hunter-submitted

Ohio

On May 15, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that CWD was detected in a mule deer doe on a Wayne County deer farm. ODA has applied for an indemnity plan with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for depopulation of the herd of 138 individuals. There have been 21 cases of CWD involving three Ohio deer farms since 2015.

Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) completed 13,000 CWD tests by the end of February. Twenty-six new confirmed CWD positives were detected, with 6 additional “suspect positives” awaiting confirmation. Confirmed cases include CWD found in a free-ranging white-tailed deer in Val Verde County last December. A second case was detected in close proximity about a month later. These cases are the first positive detections in Val Verde County.

Wyoming

 On April 20, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming claiming that United States Forest Service (USFS) officials were in violation of numerous rules when they allowed elk feeding to continue on three feeding grounds in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Plaintiffs to the suit include the Western Watershed Project, Sierra Club and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. Elk and mule deer move through and from CWD-positive areas to the feeding grounds each winter.

On May 7, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) released CWD monitoring results for the Powder River Mule Deer Herd. 293 samples were tested from the 2019 hunting season, showing an overall 11% prevalence rate for adult mule deer bucks. 63 whitetail bucks were tested, showing a 35% prevalence rate

Finally, Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon announced that the Wyoming Hunger Initiative will add a new arm this fall – Food From the Field. Food From the Field will streamline wild game meat donations, and all “meat will be tested for chronic wasting disease and held until test results are returned.”