Deer Hunters Beware: Chronic Wasting Disease Among Deer Population On The Rise
MADISON- The Alabama Department of Conservation and Wildlife (ADCW) reminds hunters that the importation of whole carcasses and certain body parts of any deer from any area outside of Alabama is prohibited. The reminder stems from the recent rise in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in free-ranging deer, elk and moose in at least 25 states across the country. According to reports, no reports of CWD have been spotted in Alabama.
“Our wildlife biologists have continued to sample our deer herd throughout Alabama for CWD testing since 2001 and to date no deer has tested positive for CWD and we are asking the public’s help to keep Alabama CWD free,” said Wildlife Section Chief Keith Gauldin.
CWD is a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of deer and elk. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and causes those animals to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions and die.
There is currently no evidence that the disease can be spread naturally from cervids (deer family) to livestock and is not known to be transmissible to humans or domestic livestock.
The ADCW indicates the disease can be spread by infected carcasses of deer taken by hunters, many times those can be transported across state lines. Even the World Health Organization concludes there is no scientific evidence of CWD infecting humans, but highly suggest having harvested deer tested for CWD and not consume the meat from an infected animal.
The ADCW is hosting a series of informative meetings around the state to help inform hunters of the procedures recommended for handling deer and the testing for CWD. There are two meetings scheduled in the North Alabama area. The first will held Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Auditorium in Decatur. A second meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Wallace State College Bailey Center Auditorium in Hanceville.
CWD was first identified in the United States in 1967. The past 20-plus years have seen a rapid spread of the disease throughout much of the country.
For additional information on CWD and the upcoming scheduled meetings call the Operation Game Watch at 1-800-272-4263.