Officials with state wildlife agencies remain very concerned about a disease affecting whitetail deer. It’s called chronic wasting disease, or CWD for short.
Just saying the phrase is enough to give you the creeps. Yes, the main local concern is whitetail deer but CWD can also affect mule deer.
Jim LaCour, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wildlife veterinarian, said no cases have been found in in the state, but a neighbor to our west has a positive case.
“This past January, Mississippi found chronic wasting disease in a deer in Issaquena County which is about 4 miles from the Mississippi-Louisiana line, across from Madison Parish,” LaCour said.
Although that is some 200 miles from Shreveport, LDWF took quick action in Louisiana.
“We instituted our chronic wasting disease response plan. We went up there and actually department personnel harvested 300 deer. ... That was a scientific number the experts gave us for sampling deer. We did not find chronic wasting disease in any of those animals nor have we found the disease in any of the other animals we’ve tested through the years. So currently we are listing CWD free for the state of Louisiana,” LaCour said.
That’s not the case in that Arkansas and Texas, where there have been positive results for chronic wasting disease. As a result, regulations have been put in place.
“For transport of deer harvested in other states into Louisiana, the neuro tissue or the brain and the spinal cord must be removed, so you can bring deboned meat, you can bring quartered meat, quartered deer with the spine and head removed. You can bring taxidermied mounts. You can bring clean skull plates. You can bring shed antlers. You can bring cleaned elk ivories and you can capes,” LaCour said.
Louisiana has tested almost 10,000 deer over the past 16 years. 2018 will be no exception.
“We are going to continue sampling throughout the state. We’ll have intense surveillance in the parishes of Tensas, Madison and East Carroll, testing in excess of 300 or more animals over there between public and private land,” LaCour said.
LDWF biologist Kate Hasapes, who is based in Minden, said once again agents will ask deer hunters for help when deer season has started. They’re asking for a sampling of 15 deer from Webster Parish, 15 deer from DeSoto Parish and 15 deer from Caddo Parish or any deer that just plain looks sick. Deer tested must be at least 2 and half years old.
For more information about CWD, visit Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.