The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a Declaration of Emergency to cease supplemental deer feeding in East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes in an effort to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) during its monthly meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge. The ban becomes effective Monday (March 5).
The action comes after the discovery of a buck that tested positive for CWD in Issaquena County, Mississippi, on Jan. 25. Issaquena County borders northeast Louisiana and the deer was found only a few miles from the Louisiana border on the east side of the Mississippi River.
The Declaration of Emergency reads, in part: “The immediate cessation of all supplemental feeding, including mineral or salt licks, is hereby initiated for East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes. The purpose of this feeding ban is to reduce the potential for the spread of CWD into Louisiana by reducing the risk of exposure when deer are concentrated around feeding sites.’’
To read the entire Declaration of Emergency go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
The action is part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) CWD Response Plan designed to monitor and curb the potential spread of CWD into Louisiana.
According to the declaration, the use of bait not normally ingested by deer for feral hog trapping will still be allowed. All bait must be placed and contained within the trap itself. Backyard bird feeders are also exempt from the declaration.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear, they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.
LDWF has tested more than 8,300 deer since 2002 and has not detected CWD. For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/CWD.