CWD Roundup - October 2020

October 6, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

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

Colorado

On September 11, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced it would be conducting mandatory CWD testing during the 2020 hunting season in specific Game Management Units (GMU) as part of efforts to control the spread of CWD with its Colorado Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan. Beginning in late September, CPW began sending out letters to Colorado rifle season deer (buck and doe) hunters who have been selected for mandatory CWD testing. Eighty-nine GMUs, the majority on the Western Slope, are included in the 2020 mandatory sample.

Michigan

On September 22, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) announced that as a result of staffing and financial shortages, due to both funding associated with long-term declines in the hunter base and the COVID-19 pandemic, will result in reductions in check station and drop-box locations, dates and hours operated, and the number of deer heads that will be accepted for CWD testing. Additionally, to protect hunters and MDNR staff, some procedures will be changed to make deer check stations safer for all. Hunters are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, staying 6 feet away from other people, at MDNR deer check stations. At many check stations, hunters will be required to stay in their vehicles while their deer is checked.

Minnesota

In late August, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) announced changes to CWD zones and CWD testing for the 2020 season. CWD sampling is voluntary for 2020, with hunters submitting samples from their deer at unstaffed sampling stations that facilitate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hunters will also find a new management zone and new surveillance areas in the regulations, after CWD was detected in wild and farmed deer in new areas.

Missouri

In early August, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced CWD regulation changes for deer harvested in Missouri and deer harvested out-of-state. For deer harvested in Missouri in a CWD Management Zone County, the deer must be telechecked before any parts of the carcass may be transported out of the county of harvest.  For deer harvested outside of Missouri, hunters may no longer transport whole cervid carcasses into the state. Finally, taxidermists and meat processors must also adhere to new regulatory changes. Taxidermists and meat processors throughout the state are required to dispose of deer, elk, and other cervid parts not returned to customers in a sanitary landfill or transfer station permitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Pennsylvania

On August 28, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced changes to quarantine requirements for deer farms in Blair, Bedford and Fulton Counties to control CWD. PDA has regulatory authority over the 760 deer breeding farms, hunting preserves and hobby farms in the Commonwealth. The order attempts to control CWD in the area of the state where it is most prevalent while allowing deer farms to stay in business.

On September 23, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) announced a newly updated map available from PGC that shows not only Disease Management Area (DMA) boundaries, but the location of head-collection bins, high-risk parts dumpsters, cooperating deer processors and taxidermists, and CWD DMAP units.

Saskatchewan, Canada

In early September, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment asked hunters to submit the heads of deer, moose and elk harvested this hunting season for CWD testing. In particular, hunters in wildlife management zones (WMZs) 2W, 9, 10, 35 and 37 are asked to submit mule deer and white-tailed deer heads for testing. The ministry is hoping to collect at least 300 samples in each of these targeted zones to obtain additional information about the prevalence and spread of the disease in certain areas of the province.

South Dakota

Sportsmen Against Hunger deer donation program will now require that all deer and elk taken west of the Missouri River or out-of-state for donation in South Dakota must be tested for chronic wasting disease before they can be processed.

Tennessee 

On August 24, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) announced regulation changes for deer hunting Unit CWD. For the August hunt in Unit CWD, guns and muzzleloaders as well as archery equipment could be used, and Hunting was allowed on private lands and a select number of public lands. The regulations in Unit CWD are directed at encouraging an increased harvest of deer in an effort to prevent the spread of CWD.

Wisconsin

On September 23, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) announced that the Adopt-a-Kiosk (AAK) and Adopt-a-Dumpster (AAD) programs are looking for more volunteers to help to continue to grow these programs, bringing convenient CWD testing and proper carcass disposal options to even more hunters in Wisconsin. Participants in both programs are responsible for all costs associated with the adoption of dumpsters and kiosks as a donation (with the exception for those enrolled in cost-sharing for dumpsters are responsible for their share), and for following program guidelines. Volunteers will receive DNR recognition and a certificate of appreciation at the end of the season. For the second year, a cost-sharing option is available to those wishing to participate in the Adopt-a-Dumpster program.

Wyoming

In early September, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) asked hunters this fall to collect lymph node samples from deer and elk for CWD testing in focused monitoring hunt areas across Wyoming. Specifically, WGFD targeting deer hunt areas 7-15, 19, 21, 29-34, 61, 74-77, 88, 89, 96, 97, 105, 106, 109, 121-124, 132, 133, 157, 163, 165, 168, 169 and 171. WFGD currently utilizes a rotational sampling program designed to monitor CWD throughout the state by targeting specific hunt areas.

On September 18, WGFD confirmed two new hunt areas where deer and elk have tested positive for CWD in the Sheridan Region. Specifically, CWD was confirmed in Deer Hunt Area 25 in the Bighorn Mountains with a positive test from an adult doe mule deer that died during a Game and Fish capture operation. Deer Hunt Area 25 is surrounded on three sides by four known CWD positive deer hunt areas. In Elk Hunt Area 123 near Wright, a sick elk was sampled by WGFD personnel, testing positive for CWD. Although Elk Hunt Area 123 is newly-positive for elk, the corresponding Deer Hunt Areas, 8 and 21, have been known positive since 2003 and 2019, respectively.