QDMA applauds the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for its decision to discontinue relocating urban deer to open rangelands due to the risk of potentially spreading chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“The majority of disease experts agree the quickest ways to spread CWD are through the transportation of live deer and elk and the movement of high-risk parts of harvested animals,” said Kip Adams, QDMA Director of Conservation. “QDMA has urged state and federal wildlife agencies and legislators to stop all movement of live deer and elk until a reliable and practical live-animal test exists. Thus, we commend the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) for their leadership on this issue.”
Utah’s urban deer program will continue in an effort to minimize deer/human conflicts, but it will now be a lethal-removal program. Solving their urban deer issue in this way provides food for needy citizens while reducing the risk of spreading CWD and other biological pathogens by not moving live deer. Utah DWR research showed the relocation program was not reducing complaints about urban deer anyway, and approximately 50% of the deer did not survive after being relocated (adult deer survival rates across the West are around 85%).
To ensure the future of deer hunting, QDMA has identified fighting CWD as one of its top priorities. The organization has called for a total ban on transportation of live deer and elk by all stakeholders, including both the captive deer breeding industry as well as government wildlife agencies.
CWD is a 100% fatal disease found in whitetails, mule deer, elk and moose that is spread through direct contact with infected urine, feces, saliva, blood, carcasses and live deer. There is no vaccine or cure, and as of May 2019, CWD has been identified in 26 U.S. states. Multiple scientific studies have confirmed slow population declines over time in whitetails, mule deer and elk populations hit by CWD. Eradication of CWD after it has become established in a wild deer population currently does not appear feasible with the tools available. Therefore, prevention is critical, and deer hunters in all areas can take a number of active steps to help stop the spread of CWD to new areas. For more information, visit www.QDMA.com/cwd.