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!
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