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Old August 13, 2014, 12:52 AM   #26
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Correct Robert as you well know, it's a god awful way to die!
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Old August 13, 2014, 02:46 AM   #27
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The Andromeda Strain is science fiction.The Hot Zone is a true story.
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Old August 13, 2014, 09:35 AM   #28
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As far as transmission methods go, it is by urine,feces,and saliva deposited on soil that retains prions for decades.When other deer are exposed to this soil they can pick it up.A biologist has stated this is a 30 to 50 year epidemic.
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Old August 13, 2014, 10:10 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Robert View Post
There is already a human form of mad cow or CWD. My father died from it in 2004. It is called CJD for short.

You are correct Robert. Sorry to her your dad suffered from the disease. At one time, like CWD, it was thought that Mad Cow was not transferable to humans. Either that prion mutated/evolved or the scientists were wrong. This is the main reason for panic with CWD and why thousands of deer carcasses were found strewn thruout the countryside here in Wisconsin, the first year after the disease was discovered here. Folks still wanted the thrill of the hunt, but did not want to risk their health and the health of their loved ones. Donated venison was at an all time high as folks refused to eat the meat themselves, but thought it okay to donate so others could eat it. Since then, CWD has become a common word, and the panic has subsided. At one time the DNR wanted every deer within verified CWD zones dead and gone. Land owners and hunters refused to do it with hopes another solution could be found. As of now the solution is to live with it, be careful with the handling of the meat and to do everything possible to prevent the spread. Still, many still illegally bait and feed in areas it is restricted and plant small food plots to attract and concentrate deer to small areas.

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The Andromeda Strain is science fiction.The Hot Zone is a true story.
Again, most know that. But the Andromeda Strain is based on the fact that viruses and prions evolve and mutate. Again, the belief that the prion mutated originally and enabled it to be transferred to deer, and thus it may be able to mutate/evolve and at some point be transferred to humans, is only logical, and we as deer hunters must do whatever we can to prevent it's spread.


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As far as transmission methods go, it is by urine,feces,and saliva deposited on soil that retains prions for decades.When other deer are exposed to this soil they can pick it up.A biologist has stated this is a 30 to 50 year epidemic.

3212, You are just repeating info given in the links and common knowledge. Studies show that the prions contained in the CNS and some other organs when deposited randomly leach into the soil and may be able to infect other deer. This chance, altho relatively small, can be further reduced by proper disposal. This is why the transfer of carcasses, and other parts are now restricted in many states. I would assume that over time this restrictions will become even more restrictive and implemented by all states. CWD was first discovered in the sixties in Colorado. This means this has already been a 50 year epidemic. It is not going away. There is no known practical and effective way to control it, at this time, other than by controlling deer concentrations and proper disposal of carcasses. Whinin' about deer farms isn't the solution. While some greedy deer farm owners may have contributed to the spread, so have some greedy hunters that insist on baiting and feeding. There's more than enough blame to go around.
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Old August 13, 2014, 11:51 AM   #30
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How about what could be called "natural crowding"? Back around 1968, I went jeeping around my grandfather's back pasture one night, five miles from Austin, spotlighting. I counted over fifty pairs of eyes shining in my spotlight.

A couple of years later, not far north of Ozona out in dry country, I had to slowly "ooze" through some fifty deer on the highway around midnight.

One evening near Blanco, I stopped and did a rough count of over a hundred deer in some farmer's oat patch.

Other such stories are common in central Texas.
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Old August 13, 2014, 12:22 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Art Eatman View Post
How about what could be called "natural crowding"? Back around 1968, I went jeeping around my grandfather's back pasture one night, five miles from Austin, spotlighting. I counted over fifty pairs of eyes shining in my spotlight.

A couple of years later, not far north of Ozona out in dry country, I had to slowly "ooze" through some fifty deer on the highway around midnight.

One evening near Blanco, I stopped and did a rough count of over a hundred deer in some farmer's oat patch.

Other such stories are common in central Texas.

This is why Wisconsin attempts to substantially reduce the numbers of deer in areas where CWD has been detected. Again, it's a disease of close proximity that seems to be transmitted only by direct contact. Even then, it is thought that it takes multiple contacts before the disease is transmitted.

Iffin my memory serves me correctly, sixty years ago, there were only about 250,000 deer in Texas. Thus the probability of the transmission of this type of disease was relatively low. Now the numbers are up over 4 million deer and most of them concentrated in relatively small areas managed especially for deer production. Not really "natural crowding". The use of feeders is very prevalent, especially for hunting purposes. One wonders how much of this would change if and when CWD becomes a problem there.
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Old August 13, 2014, 03:14 PM   #32
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Well,My posts have encouraged some discussion.I would encourage everyone to do their own research and form their own opinions.Be sure to check the deer farming websites and the CWD websites.My own opinion is "whinin about deer farms" is necessary.By the way, I have never hunted over bait,salt blocks or any deer attractants.
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Old August 13, 2014, 04:47 PM   #33
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Well,My posts have encouraged some discussion.I would encourage everyone to do their own research and form their own opinions.Be sure to check the deer farming websites and the CWD websites.My own opinion is "whinin about deer farms" is necessary.By the way, I have never hunted over bait,salt blocks or any deer attractants.
I too encourage folks to become informed. Once CWD was discovered east of the Mississippi in Wisconsin 12 years ago, no state should have ignored the threat to their own deer herd. No hunter in these states should have thought it was never coming to their state. Opinions aren't the answer, knowing the facts are. As for your concern over the safety of meat from animals from a area shown to have the disease, facts show the meat is perfectly safe when handled correctly. The passing of the prion to other wild deer is likely to come from other wild deer, not game farm deer. Laying blame will not stop the spread of the disease, but certain precautions may. That is where folks need to concentrate their efforts. Funny, when CWD was first discovered here, the DNR banned the baiting and feeding of deer in the entire state. But after a coupla years because of all the negative feedback from the public that had become fond of watching Bambi at the backyard feeder or shooting their meat deer off a bait pile, they changed the regs so that only in counties where the disease has been found and those counties immediately adjacent to them are restricted. Once it was determined that the deer are safe to eat, folks were willing to take the risk of transmitting the disease to healthy animals just so they could continue to feed/bait them. Don't make sense to me. Problem with controlling CWD on game farm deer is that there is no reliable live animal test for CWD...yet, altho there has been positive results on elk and live testing. Thus unless you kill the animal, you don't know it is infected till it shows symptoms. Infected deer make take 18 months before they display symptoms. Then it is only matter of days or a coupla weeks before the animal perishes. This is why it is so hard to spot in wild animals. Add to this that many hunters in the field don't know the difference between a healthy animal and one that is sick. In areas like Texas where the norm is high concentrations of deer coming to feeders and bait stations, one wonders how much of that would change if CWD shows it self there.
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Old August 13, 2014, 09:17 PM   #34
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Surprisingly, buck, in two of the areas of which I spoke, the population growth resulted from too little hunting. Ranches broke up from death/inheritance, with heirs in many cases selling "ranchettes" to people who said, "Oh, I wouldn't hunt; I like to SEE deer."

In that particular west Texas example, I'd bet real money that the only time that feeders were used was during the two-month deer season. In dry times, what little rain falls runs off the pavement--and thus there is more food along the right-of-way than behind the pasture fence.
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Old August 14, 2014, 10:28 AM   #35
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Surprisingly, buck, in two of the areas of which I spoke, the population growth resulted from too little hunting. Ranches broke up from death/inheritance, with heirs in many cases selling "ranchettes" to people who said, "Oh, I wouldn't hunt; I like to SEE deer."

In that particular west Texas example, I'd bet real money that the only time that feeders were used was during the two-month deer season. In dry times, what little rain falls runs off the pavement--and thus there is more food along the right-of-way than behind the pasture fence.
Like around here, those same folks that don't hunt and "like to see deer" tend to feed those deer. Generally somewhere they can watch the deer from the house. Not only does this supplement the deers diet and increases the local population, it also concentrates those deer in a small area.....again increasing the risk of exposure to communicable diseases, not just CWD. In the northern part of our state, seems the only time you see deer is when you are close to a residence. Only time you see a road kill is in town. This is because of the sport of feeding and deer watching. Deer food is a big business there, one reason there was so much flak when the state first banned it statewide. $5 a bushel corn at the feed mill for farmers cost $20 a bag at the supermarket for the soccer moms feeding the deer in their backyard. At social gatherings, instead of pictures of their grand-kids, old folks proudly show pics of the deer in their backyard. This is what is so ironic. Folks think they are helping the deer, but are actually doing everything wrong.

While feeders may only be used for the two month season, it still is a highly used hunting technique. This makes me wonder if and when CWD is confirmed in Texas, if the hunters will quit using them for the good of the herd health, or like many around here, will ignore that risk and use them anyway.
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Old August 14, 2014, 11:01 AM   #36
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I hope I'm not hijacking this thread but I need some help understanding how feeding contributes to CWD. I ask because I bought 40 acres about 18 months ago. When a trail camera showed various skinny does and very few bucks I bought a feeder. The does gained weight. During the rut and winter it quickly attracted many deer, mostly does but there are at least five nice bucks (plus at least two others that weren't photographed) that showed during the rut. There were probably at least 15 different anterless deer showing up as well. My understanding is bucks have a small range of about a mile. Does have an even smaller range. That tells me these deer are all close and I need to thin this herd. (There is very little hunting pressure on the surrounding parcels.)

As an aside, as the seasons progressed and natural browse grew the number of deer visiting the feed has dropped dramatically to four regular does and an occasional wandering deer. I'm sure the deer are still close, they just have alternatives right now. As the alternatives dry up, I'm sure they will be back.

So the question is, what is considered a healthy number of deer for an area? I was thinking of putting in a food plot but obviously I want to minimize any chance of fostering CWD. (There is no CWD that I am aware of in southeast Kansas.)
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Old August 14, 2014, 11:52 AM   #37
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"...what is considered a healthy number of deer for an area?"

Basically, it's a function of the un-augmented carrying capacity on a year-in, year-out basis. Complex.

One problem is that of food area vs. non-food area. Varies a lot as to how much of which.

Local area wildlife biologists generally have the most accurate information about carrying capacity.

For one example, it might well be in eastern Texas that two or three acres could support a deer. Southwest Texas, maybe ten to twenty acres and even more.

(Between Pecos and El Paso, you can run as many head of cattle on a section of land as you get inches of rainfall. So, on average, a tad over a hundred acres per cow.)
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Old August 14, 2014, 01:39 PM   #38
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Thanks Art. While I'm not a rancher, my understanding is 1 cow per 6 acres. So 40 divide by 6 is 6 2/3. During the summer I'm in that range. Winter is another matter as I have a couple of pics with 12 anterless deer by the feeder at once. I just want to minimize any CWD chances. I really need to read more on CWD. I never heard of prions until this thread.
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Old August 14, 2014, 10:51 PM   #39
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Thinking back a bunch of years, the Austin area averages 32" of rainfall a year, long term. We ran a cow/calf to about six acres of open pasture. More rain, fewer acres per cow. Toward Houston, I've read of 1:1.

Which is why it's complex.
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Old August 15, 2014, 10:11 AM   #40
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I hope I'm not hijacking this thread but I need some help understanding how feeding contributes to CWD.

It's very simple. Again, it is a disease of close proximity that is thought to be passed by direct contact thru saliva, other body fluids and possibly by contact with the prions deposited on the ground thru urine, feces and random disposal of carcasses and other body parts. Feeders and baiting brings deer in close contact with each other continuously over a period of time in the same small area. Animals may eat a kernel of corn with saliva from another animal on it or one contaminated by contact with the ground. Many deer feeding in a small area brush up against each other constantly and butt and shove against each other for position and access to the food. Many deer in an area constantly also increase the amount of urine and feces deposited on the ground in that small area. Thus greatly increasing the odds of transmission between animals. In the wild, in most scenarios, you do not get this much constant close contact and congregation of animals in a small area for a long period of time, even when populations are higher than normal. Because there is no known vaccine or cure for CWD, and no way to reliably test animals without killing them, the only knows means of preventing the spread of the disease to to avoid putting deer at risk by not intentionally concentrating them is a small area over a period of time.
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