The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recommends that deer hunters not utilize supplemental feeds as this increases the chance of spreading diseases among deer using bait stations, including chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Instead, LDWF encourages hunters to focus on managing the native forage base on the land through prescribed fire, mechanical vegetation manipulation and application of appropriate fertilizers. Contact your local LDWF Private Lands Biologist for recommendations.
CWD has not been detected in Louisiana, however, the disease was discovered in the Mississippi county of Issaquena on Jan. 25 earlier this year. The buck that tested positive for CWD was discovered only a few miles from the Louisiana border on the east side of the Mississippi River.
LDWF sampled 300 deer within the buffer zone, which is within 25 miles of the case in Issaquena County and included East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes. CWD was not detected in any of the sampled deer. This sample size provides a 95 percent confidence interval that sampling would detect CWD at a prevalence rate of 1 percent.
CWD has been discovered in 25 states including Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.
CWD is a fneurodegenerative disease, which is 100 percent fatal and affects members of the family Cervidae, which includes white-tailed deer. The disease is caused by misfolded proteins called prions. These prions can be shed in saliva, urine, feces and decomposing carcasses. Infectious material can contaminate soil, becoming available for uptake by plants, increasing transmission to additional individuals when plants are consumed.
Once a deer consumes the prion and becomes infected, it develops clinical signs including weight loss, salivation, neurological signs and ultimately death. Clinical signs may not become apparent until 16 to 24 months after the deer is infected.
LDWF will perform increased hunter-harvested deer surveillance for CWD in East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas parishes this hunting season and continue normal CWD surveillance across the state. LDWF has tested nearly 9,000 deer for CWD since 2002 and has not detected the disease.
Deer hunters who would like to have their harvest tested may contact LDWF Regional Offices throughout the state to do so. Those offices can take samples during business hours from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Please contact the office prior to your hunt to receive information on proper handling of your deer harvest for appropriate sampling.
LDWF continues cooperative discussions with other state and federal agencies in the fight against CWD and to prevent it from entering the state.
Go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/CWD for more information on CWD.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.