Escaped deer pose risk of spreading disease in Indiana
State wildlife officials fear the missing animals could have been exposed to fatal ailment
Twenty deer escaped this spring from a Jackson County farm where trophy bucks with huge antlers are bred and sold to fenced-in, private hunting preserves. Department of Natural Resources officials, may be infected with chronic wasting disease. / (Charlie Nye/The Star)
Deer hunters in four southeastern Indiana counties have been given an unusual directive by state wildlife officials: If you see a deer with a yellow tag in its ear, kill it.
And call a biologist.
The deer, say Department of Natural Resources officials, may be infected with chronic wasting disease.
The edict comes after 20 deer escaped this spring from a Jackson County farm where trophy bucks with huge antlers are bred and sold to fenced-in, private hunting preserves. Seven of the deer remain unaccounted for.
Wildlife officials worry about chronic wasting disease spreading here, devastating what is currently a thriving deer population of 500,000 to 1 million animals.
The disease, which is causing havoc in several states, including Wisconsin, hasn't yet made its way to Indiana. Officials don't think it poses a risk to humans or other livestock.
DNR spokesman Phil Bloom said the escape highlights a larger issue.
"This case," he said, "underscores the concern many have about how the commercialization of wildlife and interstate trafficking in wildlife presents a Pandora's box, with the potential spread of a deadly disease that does have some wide-ranging consequences."
In this case, Bloom said, biologists are hoping those consequences can be minimized with some help from hunters -- and motorists unlucky enough to hit and kill one of the tagged deer.
The alert not only includes Jackson County, where the release occurred, but also neighboring Bartholomew, Jennings and Scott counties. Licensed hunters and motorists who kill tagged deer are urged to immediately call (812) 837-9536.
The DNR and the Indiana Board of Animal Health will retrieve the carcass so it can be tested for the disease.
Bloom said of particular interest are any deer with a yellow ear tag and two numbers on it, or any deer with a tag bearing the prefix "IN 764" followed by another four numbers.
Hunters who shoot one of the deer will be issued a new license free of charge.
DNR officials are concerned because a Pennsylvania farm -- where chronic wasting disease was detected -- sold 10 animals to farms in Indiana over the past three years. Bloom said two does were sold to farms in Noble and Whitley counties; the rest went to a farm in Jackson County.
Some of the Jackson County deer were moved to a fourth facility in Jackson County, where the escape happened.
Shawn Hanley, president of the Indiana Deer and Elk Farmers' Association, said a storm caused a tree to fall on the farm's fence. A Pennsylvania buck remains on the loose.
"We have been in contact with the DNR and with the (Indiana Board of Animal Health), and will cooperate fully with attempts to recover the lost animal," Hanley said in an email.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Bloom declined to release the name of the farms. So did Douglas Metcalf, chief of staff for the Board of Animal Health.
Meanwhile, Metcalf said, each of the four farms is under quarantine, and the animals are being tested for the disease.
Of the 20 deer that got loose, Bloom said, 11 were immediately recaptured, one was hit by a car and a bow hunter shot another this fall.
Rick D. Miller, the owner of the 2.5 Karat Game Ranch in nearby Bartholomew County, says he's outraged by what happened. The farm where the deer escaped, he said, isn't one of the 385 Indiana deer farms that voluntarily allow officials to test their herds for the disease.
"We don't want these crazy things to happen," said Miller, a former president of the Indiana Deer and Elk Farmers' Association.
Miller said Indiana's $50 million-a-year game-farming industry has a lot to lose if the disease spreads. And so does he.
At any given time, Miller says, he keeps between two dozen and 60 elk and white-tail deer on his farm. He collects deer urine to sell. Some hunters buy bottles of the urine as a deer attractant. Big "shooter" bucks can be sold to captive hunt facilities for $1,500 to $2,500.
Breeding stock can sell for $1,000 to $250,000, depending on the size and genetics of the buck.
In Indiana, at least, the future of farmers who sell to local game clubs remains unclear. In 2006, the DNR passed rules banning high-fence hunting because the facilities were deemed unsporting and a potential disease risk. The clubs sued in response.
A judge issued an injunction prohibiting a ban, leaving the facilities in business for the time being.
Bloom of the DNR said the legal challenges are pending.
Follow Star reporter Ryan Sabalow at twitter.com/RyanSabalow. Call him at (317) 444-6179.
THE states are going to have to regulate how many farms that are allowed, or every state in the USA will wind up being just one big private fenced in game farm.
kind of like they did with the shrimping industry in the bays, when there got to be too many shrimp boats, you stop issuing permits, and then lower the exist number of permits, by not renewing them, due to reduced permits issued.
how many states have $465,000., and can quarantine and purchase there from, each cwd said infected farm, but how many states can afford this for all the cwd infected cervid game ranch type farms ???
do all these game farms have insurance to pay for this risk of infected the wild cervid herds, in each state ???
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CWD WISCONSIN Almond Deer (Buckhorn Flats) Farm Update DECEMBER 2011
The CWD infection rate was nearly 80%, the highest ever in a North American captive herd.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Board approve the purchase of 80 acres of land for $465,000 for the Statewide Wildlife Habitat Program in Portage County and approve the restrictions on public use of the site.
NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD AGENDA ITEM
SUBJECT: Information Item: Almond Deer Farm Update
FOR: DECEMBER 2011 BOARD MEETING
TO BE PRESENTED BY TITLE: Tami Ryan, Wildlife Health Section Chief
2010 WISCONSIN CAPTIVE DEER ESCAPES
There were 26 reported escape incidents so far this year, this amounted to 20 actual confirmed escape incidents because 3 were previously reported, 2 were confirmed as wild deer, and 1 incident was not confirmed. ...
Deer, elk continue to escape from state farms
Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune Updated: March 14, 2011 - 12:08 PM
Curbing chronic wasting disease remains a concern; officials are increasing enforcement.
Almost 500 captive deer and elk have escaped from Minnesota farms over the past five years, and 134 were never recaptured or killed.
So far this year, 17 deer have escaped, and officials are still searching for many of those.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Stray elk renews concerns about deer farm security Minnesota
Monday, June 11, 2012
OHIO Captive deer escapees and non-reporting
*** Friday, October 12, 2012
Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is Now Accepting Comments on Rule Proposals for ďChronic Wasting Disease (CWD)Ē TO: email@example.com
; Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)
SNIP...SEE FULL TEXT ;
Pennsylvania CWD number of deer exposed and farms there from much greater than first thought
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 10:44 PM Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 11:33 PM