White-tailed deer throughout the Buckeye state have remained healthy for the most part up to this point. This can be attributed to the diligent surveillance conducted by our ODNR Division of Wildlife staff and partnering agencies. It’s also as a result of all the assistance provided by hunters and wildlife viewers.
Thus far we’ve done a good job at keeping our deer either disease free or at the very least, minimizing the risks. In order to keep it that way, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to report any sightings of sick deer to a wildlife district offer or your county Wildlife Officer.
One disease in particular that is of great concern across the country and here in Ohio is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). A neurological disease that is always fatal to deer and other similar species, such as elk and moose, CWD poses the greatest threat to free-ranging populations. Ohio’s first positive case of CWD has been identified in a deer harvested by a hunter in Wyandot County this December.
The Division of Wildlife has implemented a CWD response plan, which involves increased surveillance within a 10-mile radius of the location where the CWD positive deer was killed. Mandatory deer disease samples will be collected during all the Killdeer Plains Area controlled hunts. Furthermore, hunters who harvest a deer in Wyandot County throughout the remaining season will be contacted by DOW staff to obtain additional samples.
CWD symptoms are somewhat similar to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) however, due to its ability to decimate a deer population, monitoring for CWD is vitally important to ensure that the health of our deer remains good. Again, if you see any signs of sick deer, don’t hesitate to report it to the DOW or your Wildlife Officer.
An informative fact sheet put together by the National Deer Alliance lists several recommended practices that deer hunters could adopt in dealing with CWD. More information about EHD, CWD or other wildlife diseases to be aware can also be found on the ODNR Division of Wildlife website.