CWD Roundup – January 2022

CWD Roundup is the National Deer Association’s (NDA) bi-monthly update on all things chronic wasting disease (CWD). We’ll provide the latest updates on CWD spread, research and policy from across North America. Updates are provided alphabetically by state and province.

Arkansas

In early December, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) confirmed that a hunter-harvested white-tailed deer taken in Union County tested positive for CWD. The deer was harvested in Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge during a permit-based annual modern gun deer hunt. A CWD sample was collected at the check station for that hunt. This is the first case of CWD in Union County, and it is more than 70 miles from the nearest previous positive case (Issaquena County, Mississippi) and more than 200 miles from the nearest known positive case of CWD in Arkansas.

In late December, AGFC confirmed that a hunter-harvested white-tailed deer taken in Randolph County tested positive for CWD. The deer was harvested just south of the Missouri border during the Arkansas modern gun deer hunt. A CWD sample was collected by a participating taxidermist the hunter used for the buck. Although this is the first case of CWD in Randolph County, the closest positive sample is in Oregon County, Missouri, roughly 25 miles away.

Idaho

In mid-November, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) confirmed that two mule deer bucks harvested during October in the Slate Creek drainage near Lucile in Idaho County tested positive for CWD. This was the first time wild or captive animals in Idaho have tested positive for the disease. As a result, Fish and Game officials asked hunters in Unit 14 and nearby units to have any animal they harvest tested for the disease.

On November 22, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission authorized the Director of IDFG to establish emergency hunts in Units 14 and 15 for increased sampling for CWD. The goal of the emergency hunts was to get a valid number of samples to determine how widespread the disease may be in the area.

In early December, IDFG announced it would offer 1,527 deer tags for CWD surveillance hunts with the discounted tags sold on a first-come, first-served basis. These specialized hunts were intended to gather 775 CWD samples across 35 separate hunt areas with strict requirements for those hunters who participate.

In late December, IDFG confirmed that two white-tailed deer bucks from the Slate Creek area north of Riggins tested positive for CWD. These are the third and fourth deer that have tested positive for CWD in the area. Idaho had its first CWD detections from two hunter-harvested mule deer bucks from the Slate Creek area in November 2021.

Louisiana

In early December, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission declared an emergency ban on feeding and baiting in Morehouse and Union parishes beginning December 6 in response to a CWD detection in Union County, Arkansas, 7.5 miles north of the Louisiana-Arkansas border. LDWF has also implemented its CWD Response Plan and will increase ongoing CWD surveillance in Morehouse and Union parishes due to their proximity to the CWD detection.

In late December, LDWF reported that CWD had not been detected to date in test results of Louisiana white-tailed deer.  LDWF has received test results from LSU’s Diagnostic Laboratory on 147 test samples in Union Parish and 70 in Morehouse Parish, and LDWF has reached its goal of collecting 300 samples from the two-parish area

Michigan

In mid-November, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed two cases of CWD in elk from a farmed cervid facility in Kent County. The two infected elk, a two-and-a-half-year-old and a three-and-a-half-year-old, were discovered through disease tracing efforts that resulted from finding CWD in a different Michigan farmed cervid herd. These are the first cases of CWD in Michigan elk.

Minnesota

In early November, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) implemented voluntary CWD sampling in permit areas 261 and 262 in response to a suspected CWD-positive along Minnesota’s border with North Dakota. This detection was the first suspected positive in the area.

In early December, DNR confirmed that one of the 1,234 deer that hunters harvested to date in deer permit area 604 tested positive for CWD. The area was in its final year of planned CWD surveillance and management because the disease had not been detected there since a wild doe tested positive in 2019. However, the newly discovered instance of CWD in the Brainerd Lakes area will result in three more years of sampling and other disease management efforts for that area.

Mississippi

In late December, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) received test results indicating a mature buck collected in Warren County was positive for CWD. The buck was reported to MDWFP in mid-December as potentially diseased given its drastically emaciated and lethargic condition. It was found approximately 4 miles north of Vicksburg and 4.5 miles south of the first CWD-positive white-tailed deer detected in Mississippi.

Missouri

In mid-November, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) collected tissue samples of lymph nodes from more than 18,700 hunter-harvested deer during the opening weekend of firearms season. MDC required statewide mandatory testing during that weekend.

Montana

In mid-November, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) announced CWD was detected in a mule deer buck that was euthanized within Hunting District 705 by FWP in late October. FWP officials collected the deer after residents reported the buck was acting lethargic and was visibly emaciated and had droopy ears.

In mid-November, FWP reported FWP staff collected 3,147 CWD samples between July 1 and November 12, of which 1,613 were from the 2021 priority sampling areas located in northwestern, northcentral, southwestern and southcentral Montana. From those samples, 64 animals tested positive or suspect for CWD, including 47 white-tailed deer, 16 mule deer, 1 moose and 0 elk.

In mid-December, FWP confirmed that CWD was recently detected in a white-tailed deer doe that was harvested by a hunter in hunting district 317. The deer was harvested near the junction of U.S. Highway 89 and Interstate 90, northeast of Livingston. This is the first time CWD has been detected in the district.

Oregon

In early December, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced it is ramping up CWD testing of deer and elk, especially in northeastern Oregon, in response to recent CWD detections in Idaho within 30 miles of the Oregon-Idaho border. ODFW is asking hunters, roadkill salvagers and others to help the Department look for any cases of the disease in Oregon deer and elk.

South Dakota

In mid-November, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) confirmed a CWD-positive adult female mule deer was detected via surveillance efforts in Stanley County. Stanley County is now considered in the CWD endemic area.

In late December, SDGFP confirmed CWD had been detected in a new area in central South Dakota. Confirmation of the disease was obtained from a hunter-harvested adult female white-tailed deer in Buffalo County. South Dakota has now confirmed CWD in 19 counties, and this is the second detection of CWD in free-ranging deer or elk east of the Missouri River in South Dakota.

Tennessee

In mid-November, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) confirmed through multiple tests that hunter harvested deer from Gibson and McNairy Counties were positive for CWD. These results changed the CWD status of both counties from high-risk to positive and makes Carroll County high-risk because of the proximity to the new positive deer. As a result, carcass transport, feeding, and mineral placement regulations were immediately enacted.

In early December, the TWRA confirmed a deer harvested in Weakley County tested positive for CWD.  The hunter harvested deer was harvested between Dresden and the Henry County line. The CWD-positive deer changes Weakley County from being a high-risk CWD county to a CWD-positive county.

In mid-December, the TWRA confirmed a deer harvested in Crockett County tested positive for CWD. The CWD-positive deer was a 3 1/2 -year-old buck and changes Crockett County from high-risk to positive for CWD and Dyer County changes to high-risk due to its proximity.

Wisconsin

In early November, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed that a 3-year-old white-tailed buck from an Eau Claire County hunt ranch tested positive for CWD. The herd of approximately 15 deer is under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by DATCP and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and staff.

In mid-December, DNR received notification from DATCP that a farm-raised deer on a deer farm in Eau Claire County tested positive for CWD. The positive detection comes from the Town of Fairchild in southeastern Eau Claire County, within 10 miles of the Clark and Jackson County borders. As a result, the DNR will renew the baiting and feeding ban in Eau Claire County for three years and enact two-year baiting and feeding bans in Jackson and Clark counties effective December 13, 2021.

In mid-December, DATCP confirmed that two white-tailed deer at a Portage County hunt ranch tested positive for CWD. The 200-acre farm and its herd of approximately 370 deer are under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by DATCP and USDA veterinarians and staff.

In mid-December, DNR confirmed a wild deer tested positive for CWD in the Town of Lincoln in Vilas County. This is the first confirmed wild positive case of CWD in Vilas County. Following state law, the DNR will renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Vilas County as well as a two-year ban in Forest County, as the deer was harvested within 10 miles of the county line.

Wyoming

In late November, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) confirmed a hunter-harvested cow elk tested positive for CWD in Elk Hunt Area 113, marking the first positive detection in Area 113. Elk Hunt Area 113 is located in the Sheridan Region and borders CWD-positive Elk Hunt Areas 123 to the north and 129 to the west, where CWD was detected in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Manitoba, Canada

In late November, the Manitoba Government announced that in response to the recent discovery of CWD in the province, a controlled, local landowner and local Indigenous hunting opportunity for mule deer and white-tailed deer would occur. Hunters and harvesters needed a special permit, which could be obtained from the Roblin District office.

In mid-December, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development advised that a second deer infected with CWD had been detected in Manitoba and additional steps are being taken as part of the provincial emergency response to the initial discovery of CWD. The second CWD case was found in a mule deer as part of routine surveillance from an animal observed to be emaciated and acting erratically in an area just north of the U.S. border and near the Saskatchewan border. Beginning on December 13, the province began targeted effort to reduce the deer population in the CWD containment zone.


About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.