Two mule deer taken in September have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, including one taken during the archery season from deer gun unit 4B in McKenzie County, where CWD had not previously been found. The other deer was harvested during the youth season in unit 3A1 in Divide County where CWD was first detected last fall.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said the finding in 4B marks the first detection of CWD in the badlands.
“This is an iconic place to hunt big game where people travel to from across the state,” Bahnson said. “By no means does this first detection spell doom for hunting in this area, as long as we are proactive in trying to keep infection rates from climbing. We also need to reduce the chance of CWD spreading to new areas.”
Game and Fish will review its CWD management strategy after the deer rifle season and will consider making revisions for next season. While unit 4B does not have carcass transportation restrictions in place for 2019, Bahnson does recommend that hunters in 4B submit their deer for testing, and avoid transporting high-risk carcass parts, such as the brain and spinal column, outside of the hunting unit.