First Wild CWD in Iowa

Late 2012 saw first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive deer in Iowa, and there has been chronic wasting disease in wild deer in every state bordering Iowa, but Iowa only recorded its first case of CWD in a wild deer in the state in an announcement on April 9.

According to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release, “The deer was reported as harvested in Allamakee County during the first shotgun season in early December.”

The state is formulating a response plan and coordinating efforts with nearby Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A report by KTVO says that the gates of the hunting facility in Davis County where the first case of CWD was found two years ago were chained open when the facility was supposed to be quarantined to protect local deer from the disease.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release is here.
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about the finding is here.
A Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin article is here.
The Des Moines Register article is here.
And the KTVO report is here.

Advertisements

Urban (and Suburban) Deer

deer technical guideThe Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife has put together a 32-page online booklet to help municipalities better understand deer and available management options. The impact of white-tailed deer within urban communities is not just a problem in several Indiana communities, but is a growing problem nationwide.

“The Urban Deer guide was developed to support communities that struggle with urban deer conflicts,” said Chad Stewart, DNR’s deer management biologist in a department statement. “Very few topics can be as polarizing as dealing with white-tailed deer in an urban setting. How to resolve these conflicts can cause elected officials many sleepless nights.”

The booklet includes appendices on using sharp-shooters, deer resistant plants, and a solutions matrix.

This link will take you straight to the PDF of the booklet, Urban Deer: Technical Guide.

Another CWD Deer in Pennsylvania

white_tailed_deer_buckChronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive facility in Adams County. Subsequently, three free-ranging deer harvested by hunters during the 2012 season tested positive for CWD. Now, a Pennsylvania Game Commission press release reports, a white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle this fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The latest case is in the same county as one of the previous wild deer cases. Apparently, that’s the first report of CWD in Pennsylvania in 2013 (even though the press release came out in 2014, which makes things a little confusing).

Read the Pennsylvania Game Commission press release, here.
Read a brief article in PressConnects.com, a Gannett publication, here.

Photo: A (very) healthy deer. Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Wyoming Studies Mule Deer and Burbot

wrmdh-deer-on-mat-up-close-gov-del_originalWyoming Game and Fish Department personnel, researchers with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming, personnel from the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service, and many volunteers are trapping mule deer for two research projects in southwest Wyoming, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) press release says.

In one region, the department would like to know how many deer travel between Wyoming and Colorado, an important point of information for managing mule deer in both states. In that study, mule deer are netted when they feed at a bait of apple pulp and are fitted with bright yellow numbered ear tags and white vinyl visual collars. Some bucks are fitted with VHF ear tags.

In another region, the deer are netting by helicopter and fitted with GPS collars.

Read all the details, including the time frame of these multi-year studies, in the WGFD press release, here.

WGFD has also teamed up with researchers from the University of Idaho and Trout Unlimited to learn more about an illegally introduced population of burbot (a fish) in the Green River, according to another WGFD press release.

The tricky part is that burbot are native to some watersheds in Wyoming. The research, says the press release, “aims to study the effectiveness of various sampling gears for capturing burbot in flowing water, learn more about how they are potentially affecting this world-class sport fishery and what actions can be taken to prevent such negative impacts.” It notes that in some parts of its native range, burbot are in decline.

Read more in the WGFD press release, here.

Photo: a Wyoming mule deer captured in the second study. Courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish.

Third Time’s the Charm for Wildlife Passages

A pronghorn is released in western ColoradoAt Trapper’s Point in Wyoming, migrating pronghorns and mule deer are funneled by two rivers to 13-mile stretch of Highway 191, where they attempt to cross. Each year they endanger their own lives crossing the highway, and human lives as well, High Country News’s Goat blog reports.

Last year the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) opened eight wildlife crossings, including both under- and overpasses at the site. The deer and pronghorns were guided toward the passages with fencing.

The effort worked — the deer and pronghorn eventually used the passages, but not without a lot of searching, looking and just plain standing around, first. Worse still, during the spring migration, the pronghorn and deer repeated the process. The passages still made them nervous.

But the third time is the charm, according to the excellent Goat blog post and a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society. When encountering the passages for the second time on their fall migration, the animals didn’t hesitate, but proceeded right through.

Read High Country News’s Goat blog, here.
Read the Wildlife Conservation Society press release, here.

Photo: A pronghorn being released after being collared in Colorado. Courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife

EHD News

It’s been a quiet summer for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in deer. Either conditions didn’t favor the biting midges that spread the disease among deer, or the northern states that experience periodic fatal outbreaks of the disease are becoming used to the new normal.

EHD season isn’t over, though, as these two news items show. Reuters says that wildlife managers in Montana are trying to pin down the cause of death for 100 white-tailed deer along the Clark Fork River. EHD had not been previously found in Montana west of the Continental Divide, the article says.

Read the Reuters story here.

In North Dakota, there is no doubt that EHD is the cause of deer deaths there. An Associated Press story says that North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department has suspended the sale of 1,000 doe hunting licenses because of an EHD outbreak that began in August and continues, the article quotes ND wildlife Chief Randy Kreil as saying.

Read the AP article in South Carolina’s The State, here.

 

Getting the Lead Out

lead - periodic tableTwo stories today focus on two different states’ efforts to get lead out of the environment.

An article in the Portland (Maine) Herald Press literally goes behind the scenes of the recent legislative ban on lead fishing gear in Maine, which was passed earlier this year, but won’t totally ban the lead gear until 2017. It goes into the lab of Mark Pokras, a Tufts University professor of wildlife health, who played a role in encouraging that legislation. Pokras has been studying lead poisoning in loons for over 20 years.

Pokras says that lead poisoning is responsible for the deaths of over a third of the loons that find their way to his lab in Massachusetts.

Read the story in the Portland Herald Press, here.

In Minnesota, studies show that a bad shot with a lead bullet (such as one that hits a hip bone), can cause lead to splinter throughout a white tailed deer’s flesh to the extent that it would be difficult, or impossible, to remove all of it. For the sake of public health, and also for the sake of the state’s bald eagles, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages deer hunters to voluntarily use copper bullets.

The article details some of the differences between hunting with copper and lead bullets, which implies that a different technique may be more effective when using copper bullets.

Read the story in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, here.

Indiana Studies Urban Fawns

collared fawn IndianaFrom an Indiana Department of Natural Resources press release:

DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife biologists are partnering with Ball State University biologists to determine how white-tailed deer fawns move in urban areas compared to rural areas.

The study kicked off this spring with more than 30 fawns being collared with lightweight radio transmitters to track their movement. The project will last two years and the data collected will be used to help with statewide management of white-tailed deer. The data will also provide insight into the differences in the lives of urban and rural fawns.

Read the entire press release here.

Photo: Collared fawn, courtesy of Indiana DNR

 

 

 

Non-native Lice Impact Cal. Deer Population

hair loss syndrome CDFWCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) researchers have captured and collected hair and blood samples from more than 600 deer and elk in an effort to understand “deer hair-loss syndrome,” says a CDFW news release.

A non-native louse appears to be a key factor in the syndrome, which also sometimes includes internal parasites. Deer with the syndrome are skinny, and the fawns don’t survive. A report from Fox 40 in Sacramento notes that the syndrome has been known in Oregon for years.

“Some of us speculate that the louse-infested deer spend so much time grooming they become easy targets of predation by coyotes or mountain lions,” said CDFW senior wildlife biologist, Greg Gerstenberg in the release.

The researchers have counted and identified lice on the captured deer, are following them through radio collars, and have treated some for lice. They hope to have answers soon.

Read the brief CDFW news release, here.
The Fox 40 report is here.

Mule deer are in decline throughout the West, and California is no exception. This article from 2010 in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the decline.

Photo: Deer with hair-loss syndrome, courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Who Should Oversee Deer Breeding and Captive Hunts?

white_tailed_deer_buckThe deer breeding and captive hunt industry would like state departments of agriculture to regulate their industry, rather than state fish and wildlife departments. The industry has made a legislative push throughout the country for more favorable regulations.

A blog in Outdoor Life points out that state wildlife agencies should regulate all of a state’s deer because of the threat of disease — particularly chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is often associated with captive deer hunting facilities, and odd genes escaping into the wild deer herd, not to mention the problem of turning a public resources (wild deer) into private property.

Read the Outdoor Life blog here.

The Associated Press recently ran a story about the controversy over regulating private deer enclosures in Mississippi. The state wildlife department has regulated the facilities since 2008. A legislative committee says it shouldn’t.

Read the story in SF Gate.

Wildlife Professional magazine had an excellent article on this subject back in December. It reviews all the threats to the wild deer herd from captive hunt and deer breeding facilities.

Read the article here.

Photo: A wild buck, by Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission