View Full Version : Hunt for diseased deer starts

March 16, 2002, 01:17 AM
Hunt for diseased deer starts
500 animals will be killed and tested
Associated Press
March 15, 2002
MOUNT HOREB - Mike Lavell shot a whitetail doe just minutes after sunrise Thursday, becoming one of the first hunters to kill what the state hopes will be 500 deer so they can be tested for a deadly brain disease recently found in Wisconsin for the first time.
"I just figured we might as well cooperate with them, get their testing done and hopefully get this thing figured out," said Lavell. "To me, it's about the health of the herd. That's what we live for, to hunt. If the herd is healthy, we want to know it."
Thursday was the first day of an unprecedented hunt the Department of Natural Resources ordered to find out how far chronic wasting disease has spread into the deer herd, which last fall was estimated at 1.6 million deer.
More than 100 landowners had volunteered by Thursday and had the needed permits to shoot one deer per 640-acre section of their land, said Carl Batha, DNR wildlife biologist and chief of the deer sampling effort.
"It is pretty chaotic here," Batha said. "When a landowner shoots a deer, we will go out and take the head off."
The number of deer killed Thursday was not immediately known "but it's safe to say it's dozens," Batha said. "We need to collect this sample as fast as we possibly can."
The deer are being killed in a 415-square-mile section of Dane and Iowa counties where chronic wasting disease was detected in three deer that hunters shot in November.
It is the first time the disease has infected deer east of the Mississippi River.
The disease attacks the brains of deer, causing the animals to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions and die.
The deer have to be killed because the only way to test for the fatal disease is to take a sample of the brain.
The deer heads are taken to Madison where the needed brain sample is gathered. The sample is then sent to a laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for testing for the disease, the DNR said.
The results will determine what the agency does next to deal with the disease.
Mike Segevrecht, 42, of rural Barneveld, shot an older doe early Thursday out of a group of about seven deer.
"It looked fine and dandy," he said. "I made sure it was a great big one and wasn't a buck. It was hard to do. I didn't keep it to eat."
Segevrecht said he's anxious to know whether the deer he shot has the disease.
"If it comes back positive, then what do you do?" he asked. "There is only one cure for it and that's to kill them all. I sure don't want that. I love hunting."
Lavell, 36, said the doe he killed was taken from his land about four miles south of Mount Horeb and he intends to shoot another deer on another section.
Lavell said he will keep the meat from the deer he shot Thursday but if the animal tests positive for chronic wasting, he will "throw it away, obviously."
There is no evidence the disease can be passed to humans by eating meat of an infected animal but no one can say with "absolute certainty" that chronic wasting disease will not cause human disease, state epidemiologist Jim Kazmierczak said.
One of the first deer obtained for the sample was sickly and acting abnormally but there was no way to tell immediately whether it was suffering from chronic wasting, Batha said.
It was too early to tell how long it will take to shoot the needed 500 deer, the biologist said. "I will know more after the weekend. I think the weekend will be the big push."
On the Net: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/whealth/issues/CWD/.

Art Eatman
March 16, 2002, 10:06 AM
I don't guess anybody knows what got this stuff started, but I have a notion that it's somehow tied to these "deer farm" deals. (No proof, of course, and I'm not saying it's THE answer.) I dunno. These deer farms and elk farms have always struck me as Bad Things, for various reasons...

(Mumble, mumble, gritch...)


March 17, 2002, 09:33 AM
IIRC, One of the Colorado outbreaks was tied to a New York deer farm release

Dan Morris
March 17, 2002, 10:27 AM
Art, I think you are on target on the farm idea. They are fed livestock feed.......produced from animal parts??????? Flies going from dropping to other animals is a possiblity.......Colorado has a REAL problem with CWD...so does Wyoming and starting into Nebraska. Wish I had a inteligent answer.

Art Eatman
March 17, 2002, 01:48 PM
I just don't recall ever hearing about any of these various exotic diseases among the cloven hoofs of whatever sort, before game farms or the (to me) weird notions of cattle food.

I understand all about breeding programs; I grew up in farming and ranching, and did the 4H Club thing...It seems to me that the "industry" has gone into areas where the organic chemistry and bio-chemistry is inadequately understood.

"Just another case of unintended consequences." Yeah, right--and too bad for us.