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elkoholic

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Along from the smoke pouring in from Alberta we now have the first reported case of CWD west of the continental divide in Montana.  A diseased doe put down by FWP tested positive and they are awaiting results of a 2nd test for confirmation.  This deer was within the town of Libby, which is about 35 air miles southwest of my house.

http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1223.html

As if the abundance of predators and harsh winters weren't enough of a drain on ungulate populations.  I'm not sure what the vector is, but it is pretty obvious that this deer had no physical contact with the infected animals hundreds of miles away on the other side of the divide.

Yes, it is coming to a deer herd near you, in fact, it is probably already there.

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22 minutes ago, elkoholic said:

Yes, it is coming to a deer herd near you, in fact, it is probably already there.

No kidding.  TN went from what they said was NO cases in 2017-18 to I think 90 some odd confirmed positive cases this past winter.  Think our wildlife folks missed catching cases with early testing, because there is no way it just got here and infected that many deer across 5 counties in under one years time.  

32 minutes ago, elkoholic said:

I'm not sure what the vector is, but it is pretty obvious that this deer had no physical contact with the infected animals hundreds of miles away on the other side of the divide.

CWD is spread multiple ways, but based on what most biologists say it is spread primarily from prions that may remain in the ground indefinitely.  Salivary contact is supposed to be a very fast route for spread and cwd zones in most states they implement feeding and mineral bans.  Of course deer by nature will hit signposts and leave glandular and saliva behind.  

Appears our state is going with the proactive approach and planning on killing off a lot of deer in the counties where the disease exists.  While our new handbooks and 2019-20 regs are not out yet the new regs just came out for the cwd zones, gonna be interesting to see over the next few years how things go.  

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I have to think that many deer that die from CWD are never found, or if found the remains are not tested.  The prions responsible for the disease are then at the site of decomposition for all eternity (or so it seems) just waiting for a host.  Which brings me back to the thought of how such a disease causing pathogen can cover hundreds of miles without leaving a trail.  If there were animal to animal contact as it spread from one overlapping habitat to another there would/should be a trail of infected animals.  I postulate in the case of the diseased deer in Libby, that a hunter traveling to an area with infected deer to hunt arrived back home with his/her harvest and improperly disposed of the remains. 

Many hunters west of the divide travel east of the divide simply because the hunting is easier and if they shoot an infected animal (which may not appear so) and return home with it and do not properly dispose of the carcass remains they have substantially increased the dimensions of the infected area.  During the hunting season and shortly thereafter it is common to see carcass remains dumped along roadways at various pull off spots.  This practice (which is illegal) can easily be leading to the spread of CWD.

As hunters I believe that it is our responsibility to properly dispose of carcass remains from the animals we shoot.  Montana has laws in place regarding transport of animals from known areas of contamination but I am sure that enforcement is basically nonexistent.

CWD will eventually be country wide and I think that hunting will be impacted in multiple ways.

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On 6/1/2019 at 4:42 PM, elkoholic said:

Which brings me back to the thought of how such a disease causing pathogen can cover hundreds of miles without leaving a trail. 

While unlikely, I have to wonder if buzzards, or other means of non human transport might be possible.  

On 6/1/2019 at 4:42 PM, elkoholic said:

I postulate in the case of the diseased deer in Libby, that a hunter traveling to an area with infected deer to hunt arrived back home with his/her harvest and improperly disposed of the remains. 

Could be.  Seems a more likely possibility.

On 6/1/2019 at 4:42 PM, elkoholic said:

As hunters I believe that it is our responsibility to properly dispose of carcass remains from the animals we shoot.  Montana has laws in place regarding transport of animals from known areas of contamination but I am sure that enforcement is basically nonexistent.

Tennessee also had strict laws regarding transport of cervids from known cwd states.  The regs state that no bone is allowed in, meat has to be clean away from bone.  Now inside the state, animals from cwd zones are not allowed to be transported out of those zones into non cwd zones.  Definitely will be interesting to see how things play out this fall/winter.  I am anticipating that more areas will be included in the cwd zones.  As more deer are tested, there is a good chance it is more widespread that they acknowledge.  I guess we will find out about getting our deer tested to be on the safe side.   

Last year for the first time ever TN had a "velvet" archery only hunt in August.  They have made it so that in the cwd zones for the upcoming season that hunt will include the use of muzzleloaders.   The county to the south of us is in the cwd zone.

Sad thing is you have your lazy jacklegs that bait regardless of the regs.  They have been getting away with it, and unless the state adds more manpower and gets more serious about prosecuting violators I don't see that activity changing.  

TN has been putting out more and more information, with the more recent suggestion that bucks are more likely to carry cwd than does and the older the buck the more likely it is he may have the disease.  Given we typically hunt for the oldest bucks we know are in our area, definitely need to know how/where we get them tested before our season starts.  Also has me kind of curious about the deer we have in our freezer now.  

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Its here too, skin your kapes , cut off antlers and have the skull tested to be okayed for consumption. Let them know which management unit you shoot it in, if it has cwd then they  pay attention to that and do fly overs and shoot any that show signs.

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