CWD Alert - Officials In
New Hampshire On Alert

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Jeff -
All White Tail Deer please be advised that you are NOT allowed to cross the border from NY State into New Hampshire, by way of Vermont!
Sound ludicrous? Of course it does. Deer recognize NO borders. I do, however, agree with banning importation of deer or elk from endemic states into non CWD states. Although, I must say that the problem with highlighting "endemic" is that all states may be endemic now. Just a month or two ago NY State was considered to be free of CWD, as I was told when I tried to report a suspect case last summer.
I do understand the problems that can be associated with backyard feeding of deer or elk. People who do want to enjoy nature in their own backyard can entice deer into the yard simply by growing patches of deer favorite forage. Feed stores also sell products like "Antler Mix" which is a combination of different forage seeds that will grow tasty forage patches. Clover is also a favorite of deer. Deer can even dig out and obtain clover under snow. Forage patches and plenty of freshwater are all one needs to safely augment deer feeding.
Feeding commercial grains is not a healthy food source for deer and people may be sentencing deer and elk to death by so doing. Forage patches, whether large or small, will attract deer and supplement their diet. Deer perfer foraging as it is their natural way of eating.
I do, however, believe that backyard feeding, if done by forage patch growing, can be beneficial to deer. It can also be another way of monitoring the health of deer populations. Sick deer, especially deer showing signs of CWD can be easily spotted by people watching deer graze in their forage patches. If a CWD suspect deer is noticed please quickly call your state pathologist or local or state veterinarian.
I am afraid that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is quite widespread and there may be cases in states that have not identified CWD. Simply because we don't identify it, does not necessarily mean it isn't there.
CWD is identified more frequently in captive deer herds as people are monitoring the health of these herds more closely. If a free ranging deer becomes CWD infected and dies in the woods, chances are we will never know. Free ranging deer are customarily identified by hunters who submit samples. This is only a fraction of free ranging deer. Odds are that CWD is in many more states, and, maybe throughout the continental US and beyond.
Patricia Doyle
Diseased Deer Spark Concern
Officials On Alert For Brain Disorder

By Rebecca T. Dickson
Monitor staff
Article published Apr 7, 2005
Two deer that tested positive for a fatal and highly contagious brain disease in New York last week have New Hampshire officials on alert.
The farm-raised white-tailed deer from Oneida County turned up with chronic wasting disease - a neurological disorder that is not transmissible to humans -marking the first time it was found in the Northeast. The eastern migration has officials stepping up efforts to discourage backyard deer feeding and reminding hunters of laws prohibiting the importation of deer and elk carcasses from states that have CWD.
"We are trying to be as proactive in prevention as we can," said Kent Gustafson, state Fish and Game deer project leader. "We have no reason to expect to find it. But if we are going to find it, we want to know as soon as we possibly can."
New Hampshire, like other New England states, performs tests annually on portions of the deer kill. (More than 380 samples were taken from this year's 10,000 kill.) The state Department of Agriculture and the state veterinarian also sample farm-raised red deer, white-tailed deer and elk each time they go to slaughter. To date, none turned up with the disease, but Fish and Game is still awaiting this year's results.
Chronic wasting disease bores holes in deer and elk brains, causing them to stagger and salivate before they waste away and die. The disease has attacked both species in Colorado and Wyoming for decades. Two years ago, it popped up 1,000 miles east, in Wisconsin and then Illinois. In New York, officials announced the first case of CWD last Thursdayand another on Saturday. The deer lived on farms five miles apart, officials said. Both herds will be destroyed and tested, and officials plan "intensive testing" of wild deer nearby. State regulators also implemented precautionary rules to limit the transportation and possession of whole deer or elk carcasses taken near the location of the captive herd, and they plan to restrict importing live deer and elk.
New Hampshire already bans live deer or elk from out of state. About two years ago, the law was beefed up to prohibit importing carcasses from states that have known cases of CWD. But now that the disease has moved closer to home, officials say, the threat is heightened.
"A lot of people go to other states to hunt, out West or to Colorado,"Gustafson said. "The furthest east it (the disease) had been was Wisconsin and Illinois - far enough away that hunters wouldn't throw a deer carcass in the back of their pickup and drive it back.
"Now, we know we have a fair bunch of hunters that hunt in New York," he said. "We have to do a good job of getting the word out to them to be very careful when they come back into New Hampshire. Not only is it illegal to bring (carcasses) back from New York, but it'd also be a pretty good risk to our deer herd."
Infected carcasses left in the woods transmit the disease to vegetation which, if eaten by another deer, further spreads it, he said.
In the coming months, efforts to discourage backyard feeding of the state's 85,000 deer will be amplified. Officials have long said the practice is one of the surest ways to make the herds more vulnerable to starvation, predators, car accidents and disease, such as CWD.
No one can say for sure how CWD is spread, but strong evidence suggests it's by physical contact between deer, such as licking or sneezing. When the deer are concentrated in a small area - a back yard with a bunch of deer pellets, for example - the chance for transmission increases because of closer contact among the animals and concentrated urine and feces on the ground. In natural deer yards, the risk is lower because feeding is dispersed.
In New York, officials were so concerned about the spread of CWD, they passed a law a few years ago making backyard feeding illegal, with a few exceptions for captive deer or research. New York has an estimated 433 establishments raising more than 9,600 deer and elk, compared to the handful of farms in New Hampshire. The former also has a wild deer population that hovers at about 1 million, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
Across North America, CWD has been detected in both wild and captive deer and elk populations; in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and in Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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