It’s taken a lot of time a vision to build Oklahoma’s deer herd into the balanced and prolific resource it is today. It’s going take even more to ensure it stays that way.
Last week, the unfortunate news broke that Chronic Wasting Disease has once again been confirmed in the state of Oklahoma. This discovery is the same as the last – confirmed in an elk from a farmed herd. Oklahoma now has two confirmed cases of CWD.
According to recent news release from the wildlife department, the location of the confirmed test has not been disclosed – only that it was in Lincoln County. The release also noted the facility and a nearby hunting area have been quarantined.
The state veterinarian has issued a stop-movement order for any intrastate cervid transport for 30 days in order to assess the situation.
It’s important to note that the release stated the elk died from a wound it suffered and did not indicate the elk died from CWD. The presence of the disease was discovered through routine testing surveillance in compliance with the facilities Certified Herd Plan.
The first thing that needs to be sorted out is where the elk was born, and then possibly transported to. Any place the elk has been will most likely be quarantined. It will be interesting to follow the chain of events that unfold.
Some states have gone in and shot all the deer they could find around and CWD zone. Some states have increased hunting opportunities in the same areas as a response. There is a very good chance the state will want to sample as many deer as possible harvested next fall in Lincoln County.
So far the disease has not been found to pose a risk to human beings, but there is no doubt that it poses a threat to our state’s population of wild deer. CWD has not been found naturally occurring in our state, yet we have a second confirmed case in a farmed herd.
It’s important to remember that the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recently approved a new restriction on importing, possessing or transporting any cervid carcass or part of a cervid from outside Oklahoma to help prevent the disease from being brought into our state.
The transport of only quarters of meat with all spinal material removed is allowed, along with cleaned teeth, finished taxidermy products and hides or tanned products. There is an amendment to the proposal that will allow cervid heads to be brought into Oklahoma if new restrictions are followed, but those restrictions have yet to be announced.
I’m sure hunters will do their part to prevent CWD from being bought into Oklahoma. They now have to do so by not bringing any part of a cervid across state lines that can spread the disease. Should that mean that deer and elk farmers should do the same?
We have an amazing resource that is our deer herd. Every hunter I know takes pride in where our deer herd is today, and I hope we all do what it takes to keep it that way.