Last hunting season, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) jumped onto the national stage like never before, with nearly every state (and Canadian province) testing wild deer for the always-fatal brain disease. More than 100,000 deer, plus thousands of elk, were tested for CWD in 2002, and the good news is that only a relative handful of CWD-infected animals were discovered. Unfortunately, CWD extended its reach into Illinois, Wisconsin and Utah, and it was also found over much of far-western Colorado.
Last year’s CWD testing programs varied widely. Some targeted only sick-looking animals; others surveyed roadkills and some hunter-harvested deer. A few states, including Wisconsin, collected a statistical sampling of deer to scientifically determine exactly where CWD was or wasn’t. Expect CWD testing to become a regular part of the fall hunt since, at this point, the disease still appears to be expanding. –Brian McCombie
Chart indicates the number of animals tested by species followed by the number of CWD-positive animals founds.
[+] States with CWD-positive animals
AK: Moose 50/0*
WA: MD 296/0 WT 188/0 BT 290/0 Elk 113/0
OR: MD 240/0 WT 17/0 BT 162/0 Elk 410/0*
NV: MD 335/0 Elk 102/0
CA: MD 240/0 BT 200/0 Elk 10/0
ID: MD 496/0 WT 164/0 Elk 71/0*
UT: [+] MD 1,400/1 Elk 64/0*
AZ: MD 352/0 WT 82/0 Elk 143/0
MT: MD 595/0 WT 196/0 Elk 222/0*
WY: [+] MD 1,508/87 WT 247/18 Elk 795/5*
CO: [+] MD 10,888/247 WT 523/15 Elk 14,777/43*
NM: [+] MD 350/5 Elk 350/0*
ND: WT 439/0 MD 31/0 Elk 25/0
SD: [+] WT 821/6 MD 522/3 Elk 607/0*
NE: [+] WT 2,069/6 MD 2,161/6 Elk 25/0*
KS: WT 1,154/0 Elk 16/0
OK: WT 978/0 Elk 22/0
TX: WT 2,000/0
MN: WT 4,401/0
IA: WT 3,160/0
MO: WT 6,000/0*
AR: WT 250/0 Elk 17/0*
LA: WT 1,100/0
WI: [+] WT 41,245/207*
IL: [+] WT 4,060/7*
MI: WT 3,737/0 Elk 83/0
IN: WT 1,000/0
KY: WT 2,465/0 Elk 19/0*
TN: WT 1,400/0
MS: WT 980/0
AL: WT 90/0
OH: WT 500/0
WV: WT 370/0
GA: WT 336/0
FL: WT 500/0
VT: WT 251/0
NY: WT 936/0*
PA: WT 500/0
VA: WT 1,047/0
NC: WT 135/0
SC: WT 103/0
ME: WT 831/0
NH: WT 259/0
MA: WT 80/0*
RI: WT 40/0*
NJ: WT 952/0*
MD: WT 306/0
Species Key WT: Whitetail deer MD: Mule deer BT: Blacktail deer Elk: Elk
Canada Newfoundland/Labrador: 0/0 New Brunswick: 0/0 Ontario: WT 151/0 Manitoba: WT 490/0; Elk 130/0 Saskatchewan: Animals Tested 6500/11MD; 1WT; 0 Elk Alberta: MD 546/0; WT 409/0; Elk 95/0 B.C: MD 103/0; WT 71/0; Elk 42/0
AK: The state tested the moose between 1999 and 2002. Officials plan to test 500 Sitka blacktail deer this fall.
AR: In November 2002, the Game and Fish Commission found that a Colorado deer taken to an Arkansas processing plant had CWD.
CO: Could test 50,000 animals this fall, depending on hunter demand.
CT: Did no testing in 2002. Will test over 200 whitetail deer this fall in a regional sampling program with Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
DE: Plans to test 300 whitetail deer in 2003.
ID: Moose 1/0; Fallow deer 1/0
IL: So far, CWD positives have been limited to three northern counties. Illinois recently announced that it found seven more CWD-infected deer (with animals tested in 2003) in the same areas it had found the previous seven. The new positives were identified from culls the Illinois Department of Natural Resources did this past February and March.
KY: 11 target animals were also tested (escaped exotics).
MA: Results pending
MO: 2002 was the second year of a plan to test 200 deer in every county by 2005.
MT: CWD is closing in on Montana from three sides (Wyoming, South Dakota and Saskatchewan).
NE: The CWD-positive animals are still relegated to the Panhandle but they have now been found in three separate locales, including a troubling cluster in northern Sioux County.
NJ: Also tested 502 deer in 1998 and found no positives.
NM: Oryx 5/0; Bighorn sheep 1/0. The state found the first CWD-positive mule deer in 2002; severl more have been found since.
NY: In November 2002, three resident hunters were ticketed for bringing Wyoming elk carcasses into New York, a violation of a temporary ban on importing any deer or elk into the state.
OR: 266 Rocky Mountain Elk, 144 Roosevelt Elk
RI: Result pending
SD: If the infection rate goes above 3 percent, the state’s management plan calls for aggressive culling of infected wild herds.
UT: In May 2003, a second mule deer tested positive near Moab, more than 100 miles south of first CWD-positive muley killed in 2002.
WI: In April the Department of Natural Resources asked to double the size of the eradication zone to more than 800 square miles.
WY: CWD jumps the Continental Divide here in 2002 in one deer killed near Saratoga, Wyoming, and in another near Baggs, Wyoming.
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