Most will shrug off a post about chronic wasting disease, aquatic nuisance species, West Nile or bird flu discussion. Even if you don’t see a direct impact or night and day change in how you spend time hunting, fishing, trapping or other outdoor activity it does. So when the news comes out on expanded CWD efforts, take note, please. Maybe not for the direct hunter activity, but understand these issues take time, energy, resources and money. Money agencies could be putting to work on game management, habitat improvement or species research. Yep, it all adds up…the good and the bad.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Game and Fish, and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks are coordinating efforts to increase surveillance in and around the location where a mule deer taken last fall in southwestern North Dakota tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
According to officials, all three agencies will sample hunter-harvested deer, elk and moose, road kills and sick-acting animals.
The increased surveillance area includes North Dakota deer hunting unit 3F2 (eastern Adams County, southeastern Hettinger County, southern Grant County, south central Morton County and all of Sioux County), the Standing Rock Reservation, and South Dakota deer units 53A (northern Perkins County) and 20A (Corson County).
The majority of collections will occur during each agency’s deer rifle season, with coordinated collection efforts from hunter harvested animals planned for November. Additional details regarding collection points will be distributed prior to this fall’s deer rifle seasons.
North Dakota Game and Fish officials were notified in March that a sick-looking mule deer taken last fall in western Sioux County tested positive for CWD, the first time an animal has tested positive in North Dakota.
Since the location is near the South Dakota border, SDGFP will expand their monitoring efforts to the northwest. CWD efforts had been concentrated in southwestern South Dakota where the disease is established – the Black Hills and Custer and Fall River counties. In addition, SDGFP has a statewide surveillance program that samples sick deer when they are reported.
In addition to targeted surveillance, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has sampled the entire state twice by annually collecting samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. Since sampling efforts in North Dakota began in 2002, more than 14,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.
CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.
For additional information regarding CWD sampling in these areas, or to report a sick acting deer, contact the appropriate agency: North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Bismarck – (701) 328-6300; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates – (701) 854-7236; South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Rapid City – (605) 394-2391, or Mobridge – (605) 845-7814.