Testing, public information website part of continued monitoring effort

PRATT -- Deer hunters or anyone with questions about chronic wasting disease (CWD) can find the information they need on the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/Hunting/Big-Game/Chronic-Wasting-Disease. The website shows locations of positive CWD detections, a list of CWD check stations, and a link to check their CWD test online.

"Some results will be available in the latter part of December, but most will not be ready until January or early February," says Dr. Ruby Mosher, KDWP wildlife disease coordinator. "Our website has a link to information concerning CWD regulations for Kansas and for other states. Kansas does not currently have specific regulations concerning CWD, but we strongly recommend that hunters do not transport whole deer carcasses out of Deer Management Unit 1 [northwest Kansas]."

According to Mosher, it is generally considered safe to transport boned-out meat, cleaned skull plates with antlers, and finished taxidermy mounts, but if a carcass must be transported from Deer Management Unit 1 to another part of Kansas, the preferred method of disposal is incineration or burial in an approved landfill where local deer cannot contact the waste.

"There is currently no treatment nor an acceptable method of CWD eradication, so preventing the movement of the disease by people is vital to the health of local deer herds," Mosher explains.

Nonresident hunters with questions concerning CWD need to know that CWD has been detected in Kansas, so they need to check with their home state, and every state through which they will travel, concerning local CWD regulations. Some states have roadblocks and confiscate deer carcasses that pass through from known CWD areas. A link for other state's regulations can be found on the KDWP website, but hunters should verify the guidelines with their particular states.

"Although this year we are primarily concentrating on filling in samples from the northwest portion of Kansas, we are also testing select deer from eastern areas, as well," says Mosher. "Those deer being tested in the eastern two-thirds are primarily sick deer, road kills, older bucks, and any deer that a KDWP employee wants to have checked for CWD."

Since 1996, KDWP has tested more than 20,000 samples for CWD. Four wild deer tested positive from Cheyenne County in 2005 and three last year from Decatur County. In each case, biologists obtained additional samples, with none testing positive, indicating a very low rate of CWD in wild deer.

Anyone who takes a deer this season and would like to have it checked for CWD may give the head to any KDWP wildlife biologist or to one of the CWD Test Stations listed on the webpage.