A whitetail buck and a mule deer doe, taken during the 2017 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota, have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the state Game and Fish Department.
Since 2009, the total now stands at 11 deer to test positive for CWD in North Dakota, and all were from within unit 3F2.
In 2010, the Game and Fish Department implemented special regulations in 3F2 and surrounding units to limit the natural spread of the disease, and to protect the rest of the deer, elk and moose herds in North Dakota.
In addition to the 350 samples tested for CWD from unit 3F2, another 1,050 were tested from deer harvested last fall by hunters in the central third of the state, and from any moose or elk taken during the hunting season. In all, more than 1,400 samples were tested.
Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 31,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.
“The Department takes the risk of CWD to the state’s deer, elk and moose herds seriously,” Grove said. “CWD is considered a permanent disease on the landscape once an area becomes endemic.”
The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In 2018, deer will be tested from the western portion of the state.
The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick.
CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. For more information on CWD, refer to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.