Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk (or "wapiti"), moose, and reindeer. As of 2016, CWD had been found in members of the deer family only. ... CWD is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death.
Health agencies advise hunters to avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD.
Check out this article written by Lindsay Thomas Jr. found on QDMA. It's a frightening thought to see how much the disease is spreading and that you don't know if an animal is infected just by looking at it.
I know there are hunters out there that process their own meat but under the circumstances, you might want to consider taking it to a professional that can test for the disease first. Search your local conservation federation for specific details.
chronic wasting disease fact sheet - Texas Parks and Wildlife
From the Wildlife Management Institute
What Should Hunters Do?
Hunters are one of conservation‚'s greatest tool for wildlife management, and particularly so to the management of CWD. Samples collected from hunter-harvested cervids (deer elk or moose) are the key to understanding and controlling the spread of CWD. Here's what you can do to help:
Know the status of CWD regulations where you hunt, as well as the states you will travel back through with your harvested animal, and follow them carefully. Do not move carcasses or carcass parts from one area to another. Transportation of live animals, infected harvested animals or parts of infected animals is an easy way for CWD to arrive in your neighborhood. Please check with your state fish and wildlife agency on what parts of your harvested animal you are allowed to bring back to your home.
If the state you're hunting in is testing for CWD in cervids, then you can help by submitting your harvested animals for testing. Since the odds of finding an infected animal are low, obtaining high numbers of samples is necessary to learn if the disease is present. Testing for CWD will also allow you to avoid eating infected animals. Although no linkage between CWD and human infection has been made, scientists recommend against eating CWD-positive game.
Dispose of the remains of all harvested animals in a way that reduces the chance of spreading CWD. Burning or chemical treatment will not destroy the infective prions, and throwing a carcass or remains out in a back field for scavengers will only contaminate the site if the animal was CWD positive. Check with your state fish and wildlife agency on the proper method of disposal.
For many hunters, success sometimes means shooting the biggest or largest of the species. For others, success is obtaining meat for the freezer. Biologists strongly recommend that you consider adding disease prevention to your measures of success to ensure the future of our deer hunting traditions. Since the older an animal is, the higher chance it has of contracting, and thus spreading CWD, this means harvesting younger animals and more does is the best thing you can do to both fill your freezer and stop CWD
Don't use animal attractants such as grain, other animal feed, or lures to concentrate animals for the purpose of improving your success hunting or observing animals. These and other wildlife feeding practices enhance the risk of transmitting CWD. Remember, CWD can be spread by, 1) animal to animal contact, 2) saliva, feces, and perhaps urine, 3) contaminated soil (presumably from the prions being shed via saliva and feces). So, it's reasonable to assume that any factor that causes animals to come into contact with each other at a higher frequency, a higher density, and a prolonged period of time increases the probability that CWD will be transmitted. Also, since infectious prions can persist in the soil and can even be taken up by plants, continuing to concentrate animals in one spot only worsens the risk of spreading CWD. This may change the way you hunt, but CWD is indifferent to tradition.
Follow guidelines for field-dressing and processing harvested animals in CWD-positive areas.
If the state agency is using sharpshooters to reduce deer numbers in your area because of specific knowledge of the harvest location of infected animals, please grant them access to your property or consider getting additional permits to harvest animals with a higher probability of infection.
If we are to preserve our traditions of hunting deer, elk, or moose, we need to recognize that CWD is a serious threat to the future of these animals in North America. The most important things you can do are follow regulations concerning CWD, safely handle harvested animals, and get your harvested animals tested. Enjoy your hunt and be a true conservationist by fighting CWD!
Author Bill Moritz and Matt Dunfee
#camochic #cwd #hunting #conservation
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