Researcher says Wisconsin deer herd could take 18 years to

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,528
Reaction score
410
Long deer disease fight seen

Wiping out disease, restoring herd may take 18 years

By LEE BERGQUIST of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff

Aug. 6, 2002

Denver - It could take at least six years to eliminate chronic wasting disease from a region in south-central Wisconsin where it has been found in 24 deer, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher said Tuesday.

In addition, it could take 18 years or more for the deer population to return to normal numbers in that part of the state, John Cary told a national symposium on the deadly deer disease.



An expert on using computer modeling to predict wildlife population patterns, Cary gleaned data from deer that have tested positive for the disease near Mount Horeb, plugged in other variables, and predicted that deer hunting there might not return to normal before some hunters retire from the sport.

His was one of dozens of presentations on a disease that has stymied experts from Rocky Mountain and Plains states to Wisconsin.

Chronic wasting disease is one of the hottest issues in the wildlife community, as it has spread from a small pocket of Colorado and Wyoming to eight states, including Wisconsin. Last year, the meeting on the disease drew 100 people. This year, more than 450 scientists, government officials and sportsmen are in attendance.

"CWD did not attract much attention until it crossed the Mississippi River," said Tom Thorne of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "That changed the whole dynamic."

Cary and others from Wisconsin are detailing how a state with far higher deer densities than Western states is dealing with the problem.

Cary cautioned that his projections are based on any number of assumptions that could prove him wrong.

One of the keys to his projections is to ensure that 90% of the landowners in a 72-by-72-mile region around the zone will help kill deer or allow authorities to bring in sharpshooters to do the job.

Some hunters and landowners have balked at the mass hunt, and state officials have acknowledged that cooperation with both is key.

If fewer landowners participate in the kill, it probably will take more than six years to eliminate the deer.

Another important factor will be testing virtually all the deer that are shot. That will inform state wildlife officials of their progress in stemming the spread of the disease, and it will give hunters an incentive to kill deer.

For the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the strategy for controlling the disease is unprecedented: The agency wants to kill virtually all the 25,000 deer in a 374-square-mile area of Dane, Iowa and Sauk counties.

The DNR does not dispute Cary's projections, and it has used his analyses to fashion its eradication plan.

"It holds to what we said from the very beginning," said Tom Hauge, the DNR point man on the disease.

From other states where the disease has been found, the counsel is that "you may have a chance in Wisconsin to eradicate this. It underpins everything that we are doing," he said.

But Hauge also said Wisconsin officials might be able to return the region to normal hunting conditions sooner than Cary predicted, by reintroducing disease-free animals from other parts of the state.

The two-day conference is an effort to bring policy-makers and wildlife officials from states up to date on a disease that experts readily agree has many unanswered questions.

There has been an ongoing debate over the origins of the disease, and over whether farms that raise elk - and move their animals from state to state - have exacerbated its spread. So far, there have been no cases in which farm-raised deer tested positive for the disease.

Scientists also are unsure of exactly what causes a protein that lodges in lymph nodes and the brain to go haywire and cause deer and elk to waste away and die.

The same type of abnormal protein is present in mad cow disease, which has been transmitted to humans in the form of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and in sheep in the form of scrapie. The protein has not turned up in the meat of deer, but researchers have said more work is needed.

The question over the safety of venison is pushing scientists and regulators to develop a rapid test that would allow hunters to learn sooner whether their deer or elk was safe to eat.

Demand for testing is "threatening to flood the system" this fall for the small number of laboratories that can do such work, said Katherine O'Rourke, a scientist with the U.S. Animal Research Service in Pullman, Wash.

"Hunters are hearing two different messages," she said.

"They are hearing that chronic wasting disease is not a human health hazard." But they are also being told they "better wear gloves when you gut the animal."

And she said: "It's not a human health hazard in the point of view of the World Health Organization; they tell you that there is no current evidence that CWD is transmitted to humans. Oh, but the next sentence says, however, that no part of any animal with evidence of CWD should be fed to humans."

In Wisconsin, a rapid test will not be available this fall, although Colorado officials are hopeful that the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will approve a quick commercial test adapted from the beef industry to test for mad cow disease.

The DNR said it plans to test 40,000 to 50,000 deer this fall statewide. Yet using a highly reliable, but slower, test will force many hunters in Wisconsin to keep deer in their freezers for months before getting results.

In some cases, it could take up to six months, said Julie Langenberg, a veterinarian with the DNR who detailed Wisconsin's situation at the symposium.
 



spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,528
Reaction score
410
Long deer disease fight seen

Wiping out disease, restoring herd may take 18 years

By LEE BERGQUIST of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff

Aug. 6, 2002

Denver - It could take at least six years to eliminate chronic wasting disease from a region in south-central Wisconsin where it has been found in 24 deer, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher said Tuesday.

In addition, it could take 18 years or more for the deer population to return to normal numbers in that part of the state, John Cary told a national symposium on the deadly deer disease.



An expert on using computer modeling to predict wildlife population patterns, Cary gleaned data from deer that have tested positive for the disease near Mount Horeb, plugged in other variables, and predicted that deer hunting there might not return to normal before some hunters retire from the sport.

His was one of dozens of presentations on a disease that has stymied experts from Rocky Mountain and Plains states to Wisconsin.

Chronic wasting disease is one of the hottest issues in the wildlife community, as it has spread from a small pocket of Colorado and Wyoming to eight states, including Wisconsin. Last year, the meeting on the disease drew 100 people. This year, more than 450 scientists, government officials and sportsmen are in attendance.

"CWD did not attract much attention until it crossed the Mississippi River," said Tom Thorne of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "That changed the whole dynamic."

Cary and others from Wisconsin are detailing how a state with far higher deer densities than Western states is dealing with the problem.

Cary cautioned that his projections are based on any number of assumptions that could prove him wrong.

One of the keys to his projections is to ensure that 90% of the landowners in a 72-by-72-mile region around the zone will help kill deer or allow authorities to bring in sharpshooters to do the job.

Some hunters and landowners have balked at the mass hunt, and state officials have acknowledged that cooperation with both is key.

If fewer landowners participate in the kill, it probably will take more than six years to eliminate the deer.

Another important factor will be testing virtually all the deer that are shot. That will inform state wildlife officials of their progress in stemming the spread of the disease, and it will give hunters an incentive to kill deer.

For the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the strategy for controlling the disease is unprecedented: The agency wants to kill virtually all the 25,000 deer in a 374-square-mile area of Dane, Iowa and Sauk counties.

The DNR does not dispute Cary's projections, and it has used his analyses to fashion its eradication plan.

"It holds to what we said from the very beginning," said Tom Hauge, the DNR point man on the disease.

From other states where the disease has been found, the counsel is that "you may have a chance in Wisconsin to eradicate this. It underpins everything that we are doing," he said.

But Hauge also said Wisconsin officials might be able to return the region to normal hunting conditions sooner than Cary predicted, by reintroducing disease-free animals from other parts of the state.

The two-day conference is an effort to bring policy-makers and wildlife officials from states up to date on a disease that experts readily agree has many unanswered questions.

There has been an ongoing debate over the origins of the disease, and over whether farms that raise elk - and move their animals from state to state - have exacerbated its spread. So far, there have been no cases in which farm-raised deer tested positive for the disease.

Scientists also are unsure of exactly what causes a protein that lodges in lymph nodes and the brain to go haywire and cause deer and elk to waste away and die.

The same type of abnormal protein is present in mad cow disease, which has been transmitted to humans in the form of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and in sheep in the form of scrapie. The protein has not turned up in the meat of deer, but researchers have said more work is needed.

The question over the safety of venison is pushing scientists and regulators to develop a rapid test that would allow hunters to learn sooner whether their deer or elk was safe to eat.

Demand for testing is "threatening to flood the system" this fall for the small number of laboratories that can do such work, said Katherine O'Rourke, a scientist with the U.S. Animal Research Service in Pullman, Wash.

"Hunters are hearing two different messages," she said.

"They are hearing that chronic wasting disease is not a human health hazard." But they are also being told they "better wear gloves when you gut the animal."

And she said: "It's not a human health hazard in the point of view of the World Health Organization; they tell you that there is no current evidence that CWD is transmitted to humans. Oh, but the next sentence says, however, that no part of any animal with evidence of CWD should be fed to humans."

In Wisconsin, a rapid test will not be available this fall, although Colorado officials are hopeful that the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will approve a quick commercial test adapted from the beef industry to test for mad cow disease.

The DNR said it plans to test 40,000 to 50,000 deer this fall statewide. Yet using a highly reliable, but slower, test will force many hunters in Wisconsin to keep deer in their freezers for months before getting results.

In some cases, it could take up to six months, said Julie Langenberg, a veterinarian with the DNR who detailed Wisconsin's situation at the symposium.
 

Latest Posts



Top Bottom