CWD is a Deer Killer That Needs to Be Kept Away from New England
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is fast becoming the problem child of big-game hunters. Over 23 states and two provinces of Canada now report this deadly disease in their animals.
CWD is a virus that invades the brain and causes huge damage to the neurological system. The brain stem and spinal cord are grossly affected along with brain matter which becomes like a sponge. Telltale signs of CWD are tremors, staggering, unsteadiness and falling down. Also some animals are found to have massive amounts of saliva about the lips.
The animals most affected by this are whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, moose and reindeer. So every member of the deer family is susceptible to this tragic disease.
The animals are their own worst enemy. They drink water and eat from the same fields. Deer are affectionate and will lick one another, thereby spreading this killer. There is another way to spread this and it is in the bones which carry blood-borne pathogens. Death occurs in the wild every day due to this disease.
Right now the closest state to us to have CWD is New York and the state with this disease spreading like wildfire is Pennsylvania. The latter had just two cases three years ago and last year reported over 75 cases in deer. None of their elk herd has tested positive but one deer did test positive within just a few miles of the elk’s home range. So wildlife officials there are very worried.
Hunters can help in controlling CWD from spreading into new states. It’s all in the harvest and how it’s done. First read the wildlife book of the state you’re hunting to see if CWD is a problem. If it is you need to take all the precautions. Your harvest means no bones may come back across state lines into Massachusetts unless they have been bleached white for mounting and even at this the laws might change so check the regulations at harvest.
Also, the meat must be packaged with no bones at all and tagged. Remember your kill must be taken to a check station if it’s the law before boning in that state or province. Make no bones about it, CWD is bad news and bringing it to Massachusetts or New Hampshire will be bad on our deer herd.
As for consuming the animal, wildlife officials say you can but in moderation.
Chronic Wasting Disease is killing the deer herds in some parts of the country in enormous numbers. Wisconsin lost some 150,000 deer in just two years to this. So please take it seriously and don’t try to smuggle a deer back home. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are free of this so far and we need to keep it that way.
Our deer herd is fragile as it is. Killing off more due to ignorance is just wrong.
Fishing the suds
If you have a kayak the best place to be this weekend may well be Joppa Flats on the Merrimack River. There are a good number of stripers that moved in from here to the Route 1 bridge. Kayaks can get around structures and boats at a mooring that a motorboat can not and you just might pull a nice bass from here.
The other news -- and I am not shocked at all -- is the very good striped bass action at the Crane Beach area to Plum Island and Little Neck. Lots of little fish but a few big bass too. The bait of the day is small pollock and mackerel.
Happy Fourth of July America, you earned it!
Bill Biswanger’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org