We have had CWD for a few years in SE MN and as time goes on the buck quality decreases. Our state is trying to kill as many deer as possible in the CWD zone, so there are nearly endless gun seasons with an unlimited number of deer tags allowed per person. After the nearly endless hunter seasons the DNR brings in sharpshooters over bait at night in the main CWD zones and they can decimate a local population in one winter. The hunting has peaked here and will only go down hill as time progresses. The only questions is how bad it gets and how quickly it comes.
They snipe half mile away. They don't get them all, but they get enough to make you wonder where a bunch of them go. Seems like a waste, no pun. I say this yearly, but I'm in the midst of yet another year where I get tens of thousands of trail cam pics with nothing other than 100% healthy looking deer. Suppose some would argue in that regard the snipers are working. It's above me. We don't have buck age structure that I'd like to see. That's one of the goals of dnr. They don't want old bucks spreading disease.
The decline can take longer if the entire neighborhood is on the same page, but once the DNR snipers get a foot in the door it can decline dramatically in one year. A guy I know owns some absolutely prime ground not far from Winona which has some of the best deer habitat in the country. He had giants on camera last fall, but this fall he it talking about selling his property. The DNR sharpshooters got permission to kill deer 1/2 mile away and the neighborhood deer were drawn to the winter corn piles and they were thinned out dramatically. Add a couple neighbors that kill 3 bucks per person per year and things went downhill quickly. That's the second property that I've heard of that has seen dramatic declines in the buck population in a very short period of time. Both were related to sharpshooters although the unlimited buck rule also didn't help things.
I haven't seen any significant declines yet on my land in SE MN 45 miles away, but there has been no sharpshooter activity near my land. Once that eventually happens the hunting will likely go downhill quickly. We will likely eventually be back to the pre-APR days where getting one crack at a 2 year old buck the entire season was about all you could hope for.
We've had it in PA for a while now. My area recently became part of the management area. We have had 1 positive in the county that I hunt.
They increased doe licenses for the area but only overall. There are no public areas near where I hunt so there really aren't excess deer being taken. We're not allowed to feed deer or put out minerals. There was talk of getting rid of the antler restrictions but that never came about.
Overall I believe we've had it for around 15 years now and it's done nothing but spread.
Thank you for the replys. By the sounds of it Minnesota and Illinois DNRs are more aggressive than Pennsylvania’s. I suspect hunting is a part of every guy on this site’s life and cwd doesn’t/won’t keep them from hunting. Has it affected your neighbors? ST and Ben addressed neighbors. The ones that are killing more deer than normal, are they doing it to “help” the DNR or are they doing it to say they’ve killed 3 bucks this year?
So far my county in MO has only had 1 case. But we have been in the “CWD zone” for a few years. They did away with our APR’s but from what I can tell it is engrained in the landowners mentality not to shoot young bucks.
So far our age structure is holding.
Can’t say what would happen if a case shows up within a mile of the farm. But MDC says they must ask and receive permission on private land to bring in snipers. I don’t see any neighbors signing up for that...
As mentioned, it's a pretty big concern when big brother decides they need to kill a bunch of the "sick" deer. Properties can bounce back from EHD, granted it sucks and takes years. Kinda hard to bounce back from a yearly sniper program.
Thanks for the replys. Previously when guys would write about CWD on here I would read it but never had a dog in the fight so to speak. I did remember most guys do not like how their DNRs are handling it-kill the deer so cwd doesn’t kill the deer. As mort said, it’s above me. We’ll see how it shakes out
This year our check stations were cancelled because of corona. Other years we are required to check them in during gun season, and they ask for permission to sample. A deer to be mounted can't be sampled by them. I know a few guys who don't allow the sample. My dad and I have taken the stance, right or wrong, to allow them to sample, which then puts a dot on a giant wall map of where you killed the animal. Our section and adjacent sections have already been determined to be CWD sections. Hence, why we have snipers. Our theory is the DNR needs to be seeing some dots show up on that map showing the landowners are taking matters in their own hands and at least making an effort to work on the herd a little. We have a few sets of neighbors who won't shoot does anymore, thinking the herd is getting too small and the snipers are making it even smaller. These are probably guys who miss the days of seeing big herds of deer in every field in the fall and winter. Those days are gone, the dnr doesn't want them back, and frankly I agree in that regard. To me, in a perfect world, all the nearby farms would take a few does each year, and the dnr would leave. Some guys won't allow their deer to be checked because they don't want the dnr thinking or knowing where a sick deer came from, and doing more sniping. But if they don't check it, then they don't put a mark on the map, thus making it look like no one is taking any deer in that area. I might have it all wrong. It's an ongoing thought process.
I'm not overly concerned about CWD itself, but I am very concerned about the DNR snipers and the unlimited deer tags that follow a CWD positive deer. The guy I know that spend 7 figures on a hunting property thought none of his neighbors would allow DNR sharpshooters in, but he was wrong since they are pretty good at convincing people you need to kill all the deer to save them. It only takes one landowner within a mile and things go downhill quickly.
Every couple of months I check the news to see if Ohio’s found it in the wild. This post was a bummer to encounter. I wonder what the odds are of a positive test and then it fizzling out in an area without propagating.
CWD was first diagnosed in a neighboring state, WV, back in 2005. It was not too far from our border in VA. Our game department was quite progressive in trying to prevent or delay the spread here. They introduced a feeding ban, started taking samples and testing in nearby counties, began restricting transport from CWD areas in other states, tightened regulations on penned operations and such. They first diagnosed CWD in VA in 2009 which was about 4 years later in a bordering county. Additional restrictions were imposed including banning deer urine for hunting use. Testing programs were increased as well. This link has a pretty good summary of how CWD has spread in our state so far: https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/tracking-cwd-in-virginia/
The upper mid-west states that were hit the hardest had a disadvantage of limited data on what to expect. The disease clearly got ahead of some of them and the situation became dire. Virginia seems to have learned a lot from other states that were impacted sooner. Most of the initial spread across the country was through penned operations, but once it got established in the local herd, it spread out from there.
If your state wildlife agency is as progressive as ours, I suspect Virginia is a better model of what to expect in a state recently affected than some of the initial states affected.
While CWD has the long-term potential to devastate our sport of deer hunting, the bigger impact would be CWD jumping the species barrier like COVID-19 did. While there are no documented cases of this so far, there is a similar spongiform disease in humans called CJD. This shows humans are susceptible to a disease in this class. If folks in the early infection states think there game departments have taken severe action so far, just imagine the reaction if we see documented cases of a species barrier jump.
We’ve been dealing with CWD in my area for over 15 years. The DNR first attempted the impossible goal of eradication. Hunters eventually pushed back from long gun seasons and unlimited tags (some summer seasons and landowner seasons until March 31st) along with sharp shooting. The WI DNR wrote the book on what not to do. The wounds are still deep between the department and hunters/landowners. Hopefully, other departments have learned from this. Prevalence rate has went up the last few years. We still have a large herd and we still see nice bucks. We continue to harvest antlerless deer to balance the herd and improve our habitat. The long seasons do stink though. I’d prefer bow hunting now and doing habitat projects after the first of the year. Again this year, we have an antlerless only gun season right now and an either sex archery season (including cross guns) until Feb 1.
Our land in Wisconsin has been in the CWD zone since it was established in the early 2000's. I would say our deer herd is stronger than it has ever been right now and the amount of 3+ year old bucks is the most its been since we started running cameras in 07. That said, we've also had 4 bucks in the last 3 years test positive for CWD. 1 buck we found dead and looked sick on camera, the other 3 appeared to be healthy. Of the 4 bucks, 3 were 4.5 years old and the 4th was 3.5 years old. We have seen 1 doe on camera that appeared to be very sick as well.
The overall quality of bucks as far as antler size doesn't seem to be effected at all. We took a 187 inch deer in 2018 and have had multiple 160+ deer on camera as well.