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02/20/18- CWD Scare

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

Hunting is a booming business in Alabama. The industry itself generates nearly 2 billion dollars annually and has a huge impact on the state’s economic growth. It’s hard to imagine what the state would do without hunting, but our most valuable resource could be in serious danger. Wildlife officials have confirmed CWD in Mississippi and the tensions are high.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a disease that attacks the neurological system in mule deer, elk, reindeer, moose and our beloved whitetail. The disease is spread through contact (contact with contaminated blood, urine, saliva, etc.) and causes loss of body weight, extreme thirst, abnormal behavior (such as walking in circle or holding head low) and ultimately leads to the animal’s death. Excessive drooling is the most notable symptom of CWD. The disease is most common in free-ranging deer herds and is almost impossible to eradicate. So what can we do to protect our state’s most valuable resource? We can start by deboning any and all meat harvested from other states where CWD is present. It is important to monitor your own deer herd and keep an eye out for any deer that appear sickly. If you regularly hunt out of state, it is best to let experienced meat processors handle the meat and let a local taxidermist handle the mount. The last thing we need in Alabama is a CWD outbreak. I assume hunters and landowners in Mississippi are still scratching their heads, wondering how this awful disease crossed into their state. Chances are it was brought in by infected bones or tissue of a deer that was harvested in another state. Until now, Arkansas was the closest state to Alabama with confirmed cases of CWD. A four and a half year old deer that found in Issaquena County on January 25th changed those statistics.

Chronic Wasting Disease is not to be taken lightly. It is very serious and can wipe out a deer herd in record time. Please be on your Ps and Qs when hunting out of state and remember to bring back ONLY the meat from deer harvested out of state. This means no bones or soft tissue of any kind. If you believe that a particular animal in your herd is acting funny or appears sickly, contact wildlife officials immediately. Please visit www.montgomeryadvertiser.com to learn more!

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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