A second deer harvested in Tensas Parish has been confirmed to have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Dr. James M. LaCour told the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s at it’s monthly meeting Thursday, Dec. 5 meeting. LaCour is the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) state veterinarian.
The second deer was harvested approximately five miles from the first CWD-affected deer, which was found last year. The 5 1/2 year-old buck was approximately 60 pounds lighter than the average weight for a deer his age.
The current deer was harvested December 3 and turned into LDWF officials. Samples were returned from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The state wildlife veterinarian said the Tensas hunters used the appropriate measures for disposing of the carcass.
“We’re fortunate that the hunters use a dumpster for carcass disposal, and they did dispose of that deer’s carcass in the dumpster. It went to a landfill,” LaCour said. “That’s the best case scenario for the disposal of the carcass.”
LaCour said 1,733 harvest deer samples have been obtained in Louisiana. In the CWD Control Area, 50 samples have been taken from Franklin Parish, 121 samples from Madison Parish and 217 samples from Tensas Parish. An estimated five percent of the harvested deer in Tensas Parish have been tested. This is the only sample to test positive so far this season. Results are typically running two to three weeks from the time samples are turned in to receiving the test results, which are posted on the LDWF website.
Mature bucks are the prevalent deer for CWD testing. The disease takes 16 – 24 months to develop clinical signs once the deer ingests the prions. The deer starts shedding the prions after the 16 – 24 months. Prions are misfolded proteins that have the ability to transmit their misfolded shape onto normal variants of the same protein. They characterize several fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative diseases in humans and many other animals.
Last season, feeding was stopped in Morehouse and Union parishes over a concern following a CWD positive deer assumed to be taken just above the Arkansas line near those parishes. Subsequent testing found no other cases there.