Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
The first case of CWD was found in a captive bull elk in Harper County in 2001. As of 30 June 2020, CWD has been detected in 363 cervids - two captive elk and 361 wild, free-ranging deer in Deer Management Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15, 16, 17, 18. These include 82 mule deer, 274 white-tailed deer, 2 captive elk, and 5 unknown deer species. Surveillance efforts began in 1996 and, to date, 27,863 cervids have been sampled and tested for CWD. Hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts can avoid the human-assisted spread of CWD by not transporting a live or dead deer or elk from areas where CWD occurs. HUNTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE ELECTRONIC DEER CHECK-IN OR LEAVE EVIDENCE OF SEX ATTACHED TO THE CARCASS. BONE-OUT DEER, AND LEAVE CARCASSES IN THE COUNTIES WHERE DEER ARE TAKEN. MOVING CARCASSES MOVES PRIONS AND CWD TO NEW LOCATIONS! There is currently no known treatment or eradication method for CWD, so preventing the introduction of the the disease into new areas is of utmost importance to the health of local deer herds. Baiting and feeding deer tend to concentrate deer at small point on the landscape, often with the trails leading to the feeding sites resembling the wheel spokes of a bicycle. Anytime animals are concentrated at this type of "hub," the likelihood of disease transmission increases in a deer herd. More alarming, the transferring of CWD prions to healthy deer is not the only concern. Diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, foot rot, and fungal infections; and a host of detrimental parasites, including exotic lice, flukes, mange mites, lungworms, and barberpole worms are transmitted more efficiently when deer are concentrated in a small area, especially around feeding stations. Think of future generations of hunters and do your best to lower wildlife disease transmission risk.
After the 2015-2016 seasons, prevalence was calculated to be between 10-20% with 95% confidence in bucks 2.5 years-old and older in the Northwest Zone. After 2019-2020 CWD surveillance, prevalence in the Northwest Zone was calculated to be 34.1 - 49.5% with 95% confidence in bucks 2.5 years-old and older. Currently, the overall trend is increasing prevalence and eastward spread.
Another major concern is the potential of CWD spreading from captive cervid farms into the wild cervid population. Once a disease gets into a wild population, it is virtually impossible eradicate. KDWPT recommends that every captive cervid operator enroll in the voluntary CWD monitoring program administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division. The sooner diseases such as CWD can be detected in captives, the sooner control efforts can begin and possibly prevent disease from spreading to wild populations of the state. CWD is only one of many diseases that could go undetected in an unmonitored captive cervid herd. Bovine tuberculosis and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), for example, are serious diseases that could seriously damage not only populations of deer and an annual 350 million-dollar hunting economy, but could also threaten the 6 billion-dollar Kansas cattle industry via quarantines, loss of accreditation, and loss of global export.
IMPORTANT: Help Control the Spread of CWD and CWD Prions in Kansas!!
1. Use Electronic Deer Check-In or Leave Evidence of Sex Attached to the Carcass.
2. Remove the musculature (deboning) from the carcass and leave the carcass at the kill site. Make sure to complete Step 1 first.
3. If at all possible, do not transport a carcass from counties known to have CWD (see map above) to other counties. Use electronic deer check-in: https://programs.ksoutdoors.com/Programs/Electronic-Deer-Check-in
4. If you have to transport a whole carcass away from the kill site, take or send the deboned carcass, spinal column and head to your county landfill for disposal, once you have deboned the carcass at your place of processing. Don't carelessly discard this material where other deer and scavengers can contact it. Careless discarding of a cervid skeleton could potentially start a CWD hotspot in your area.
5. Keep the permit with the meat.
For more information about CWD, visit the CWD Alliance website at http://cwd-info.org/.
Click HERE for information concerning CWD Regulations for Resident and Non-Resident Hunters
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about CWD and humans.
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance has links to state regulations regarding CWD carcass
American Veterinary Medical Association has information about precautions hunters and anyone who spends time outdoors should take to protect themselves from potential risks.