A fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk has not reached North Carolina, and state wildlife officials hope to keep it away.
Chronic wasting disease, known as CWD, was not detected in the more than 3,800 samples of free-ranging deer and elk tested statewide in 2013 and into 2014, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said Tuesday.
Similar surveys are planned every five years, or more often as necessary, said Dr. Maria Palamar, the state wildlife veterinarian, who appreciated the large number of samples donated by hunters and processors.
“We did this statewide survey because we are extremely aware of the risk of CWD and how CWD has been found in more and more states,” Palamar said. “… We are going to continue with the surveillance. If anyone finds a deer that is acting abnormally or has died in strange circumstances, we are going to test that deer to make sure that deer doesn’t have CWD.”
Other diseases, including rabies and hemorrhagic diseases, can have similar neurological symptoms, she said. CWD is not known to infect people.
CWD is in 23 states and two Canadian provinces. It was confirmed in West Virginia in 2005, Virginia in 2010 and Maryland in 2011. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries confirmed in February two new CWD cases in white-tailed deer in Frederick County during the 2013 hunting season. Maryland confirmed its second known case in February. West Virginia has confirmed 162 cases centered in two counties over the years.
North Carolina limits the parts of cervids – whitetails, elk, moose and mule deer – that hunters can bring home from other states and strictly regulates captive deer herds. Regulations can be found at www.ncwildlife.org.
Regulation of deer falls under the wildlife commission. However, a budget item before state lawmakers would transfer administration of farms raising captive deer to the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Conservation organizations have expressed concern that the transfer would weaken oversight and open the door for CWD to enter the state. Tuesday in Missouri, where CWD has been found in captive and wild deer, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed two such bills.
More information can be found at www.cwd-info.org.
Important meeting: The U.S. Forest Service will hold a public meeting 9 a.m.-noon Thursday as part of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests management plan revision. The meeting will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Asheville. Go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397660.
Organizations such as the Ruffed Grouse Society urge members statewide to attend so sportsmen and sportswomen have input on wildlife habitat issues.
Meeting Thursday: The Wildlife Resources Commission will meet at 9 a.m. in Raleigh. Audio is live-streamed at www.ncwildlife.org.
Carcasses needed: The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is requesting that recreational fishermen donate red snapper carcasses for study during the red snapper mini-season that NOAA Fisheries will open Friday. Find a map of donation freezer locations at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/snapper/red-snapper-collection.
The season will open July 11-13, July 18-20 and July 25-26. Limit will be one fish daily, with no size limit. Learn more at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamation-ff-40-2014.
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