Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer populations is inching closer to the state of Alabama deer herd. No cases have been found yet and the ADCNR wants to keep it that way.
Chuck Sykes, wildlife biologist and Director of the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries division, explained the reason for the expanded CWD sampling stations being set up over the next two weekends in northwest Alabama. “The Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has been conducting active disease surveillance for CWD since 2002, following the confirmation of CWD in Wisconsin. More than 8,000 deer have been tested with no deer testing positive for CWD in Alabama.”
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is increasing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling surveillance efforts in northwest Alabama after deer in nearby Mississippi and Tennessee counties tested CWD-positive. The deer were discovered approximately 40 miles from the Alabama border.
CWD is a contagious and deadly neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family. “As CWD impacts the brain of the animal, it’s typical awareness of its surroundings is affected, explaining the higher predominance of CWD in road-killed animals,” Sykes explained. “The testing of road-kills and those from our hunter harvested deer can greatly increase our ability to test a more thorough sample of the deer population in that area. CWD symptoms may take 18-24 months to express themselves, so a deer may have this disease but yet appear and act as a normal deer. There is no way to tell a deer has CWD other than through testing, illustrating the importance of these surveillance efforts.”
The Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) will conduct a voluntary CWD-sampling station Jan. 4-6 in Hackleburg, Alabama, in Marion County, and Jan. 12-13 in Waterloo, Alabama, in Lauderdale County.
The sampling station in Marion County will be set up in the parking lot of Hackleburg Hardware, 125 Boyd Street, Hackleburg, AL 35564. This is located at the intersection of Boyd Street and Highway 172.
Deer may be brought to Hackleburg for sampling during the following dates and times:
Friday, January 4 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.Saturday, January 5 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.Sunday, January 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The sampling station in Lauderdale County will be set up in the parking lot of Waterloo Fire Station #1, 6390 County Road 14, Waterloo, AL 35677.
Deer may be brought to Waterloo for sampling during the following dates and times:
Saturday, January 12 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.Sunday, January 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Deer harvested in Franklin, Marion, Lamar, Lauderdale and Colbert counties are being targeted, but biologists will sample deer from surrounding counties as well. Sampling involves removing the retropharyngeal lymph nodes from the head of a deer. Hunters may bring in a whole deer, field-dressed deer, or just the head from the harvested animal. Collecting a sample from a harvested deer takes only a few minutes.