Help Fight Chronic Wasting Disease
This is my second column on CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), a transmissible spongiform brain disease all deer species are susceptible to.
I know about the controversies regarding CWD, but I'm not attempting to either create controversy or settle controversy with this. I am not addressing the use of deer urines. Nor am I advocating for the policy of any game department to control CWD. Two important facts are (1.) that it cannot be eliminated, and (2.) that it is affecting hunters and hunting. So, what should be the role of the hunters right now? (Photo of two whitetail deer is by Brett Billings, US Fish & Wildlife Service. Used by permission. Caption: CWD can be spread from deer to deer where infected deer have deposited the disease-causing prions.)
Modern hunting has always had its challenges, and beginning when hunters realized that we could not overharvest species and keep them for posterity. So, we lobbied for game laws that would establish season and bag limits, and prohibit poaching. Today, even though society owes the abundance of wildlife in North America to modern wildlife practices which hunting is the centerpiece, we have serious political opposition to hunting—much of it emotional and uninformed. And now we have some biological challenges. This column isn't meant to be the end of the discussion. We may need to do more, but what can hunters do right now about CWD?
My last column was also about CWD, and reading it will help with some background. CLICK HERE TO READ "News about CWD—Mostly Bad, Some Good".