A public meeting on chronic wasting disease in deer will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28 in the Culpeper County Administration Building, 302 N. Main St.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in February confirmed a case of the fatal neurological disease for the first time in Culpeper County. A male deer legally killed by a hunter in Culpeper County last fall later tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to VDGIF.
When the buck was killed in November 2018, the hunter did not notice any signs of disease and the animal appeared to be in good condition. A cooperating taxidermist submitted a sample from the deer to DGIF in January and the agency conducted an extensive forensic investigation to confirm the harvest location of the deer.
In response to the detection of chronic wasting disease in Culpeper County, DGIF has created a Disease Management Area that includes Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties and variety of regulatory changes have been enacted within the area to minimize the spread of the disease.
Deer feeding is now prohibited year round in the disease management area and whole carcasses (and certain carcass parts) cannot be exported from it, according to DGIF.
Hunters that are successful in the disease management area on Nov. 16 are required to submit their deer for chronic wasting disease testing; hunters that harvest deer in the area at any other time of the season are encouraged to submit their deer for voluntary disease testing. In addition, Earn A Buck is now in effect on private lands in Culpeper County.
These regulatory changes, in addition to other aspects of chronic wasting disease management strategies enacted in the area, will be discussed at the public meeting on August 28.
Additional information for individuals planning to hunt in DMA2 can be found at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/cwd-informationfor-hunters/.
CWD has been detected in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. In Virginia, a total of 68 deer have tested positive since 2009.
This incurable disease, found in deer, elk, and moose in North America, is a slow and progressive neurologic disease that ultimately results in death of the animal. The disease-causing agent is spread through the urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals. Noticeable symptoms, though they may not appear in animals for over a year and a half, include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.
There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted naturally to humans, livestock, or pets, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise hunters to test all deer harvested from known positive areas and to not consume any animals that test positive for the disease, according to DGIF.