Two deer shot by hunters in southwestern North Dakota during the 2017 deer gun season have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the state Game and Fish Department said Monday.
According to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for Game and Fish, the whitetail buck and mule deer doe came from Unit 3F2. Since 2009, 11 deer in North Dakota have tested positive for CWD, Grove said, all from Unit 3F2.
Commonly known as CWD, chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system in members of the deer family and is always fatal.
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.
Game and Fish tested 350 deer shot by hunters in 3F2 this past fall for CWD and another 1,050 from deer shot in the central third of the state. The department also tested any moose or elk taken during the hunting season.
In all, Game and Fish tested more than 1,400 samples
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.”
As part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program, Game and Fish annually collects samples from deer that hunters shoot in specific regions of the state. In 2018, Game and Fish will test deer 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.
For more information on CWD, check out the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.