View Full Version : Controlling wildlife diseases through artificial means

Alpha Doe
02-01-2011, 01:56 PM
Should we or could we control wildlife diseases through artificial means? If you had the choice what would you do? While reading the Hunter's Specialties website today I came across an interesting debate that is ongoing with HS, individual states and the FDA.

QUESTION: Are there any states that have banned the use of Vita-Rack on public lands?
ANSWER: No, except for Wisconsin. There's a question about it in Illinois that we're trying to get cleared-up. There's a moratorium for six months that started in September on using the Vita-Rack because of the Chronic Wasting Disease issue. We've contacted all the states and made the same case that we gave to the FDA as to why this product shouldn't be banned. If CWD becomes a problem across the country, the only way to fix it is through some type of medication you can make available to the deer. If you ban the deer's natural wild sites, you've defeated your purpose.

I'm not quite sure of the question about Illinois...The rule book clearly states it is unlawful to make available food, salt, mineral blocks or other products for ingestion by wild deer or other wildlife in areas where wild deer are present.

My question to you all...If CWD was affecting your wild deer population would you be in approval of using unnatural means to administer medication?

As far as Vita-Racks arguement as to why we should be allowed to use the products in areas that are suseptable to something such as CWD...I'm not sure as I would agree to their arguement. CWD is spread directly from one animal to another. Evidence also leads us to believe it it spread through the saliva. Vita-Rack explains on the website as to the importance of the deer saliva in the breaking down of the product. I understand the concept of administering a medication through the vit/mineral/attractant. But that seems to me to be about the same as making an alcoholic go to the bar for their meeting. Lets offer this vit/mineral supplement until the deer get the disease then they will be used to coming here and we will then administer the medication. (A medication that has not even been developed yet.)

02-01-2011, 02:55 PM
It does not make sense to me, how they can go from discussing the legality of the use of VitaRack and jump to the "ban the deer's natural wild sites"

If you use VitaRack, it is not a natural wild site.

And we currently have no treatment or prevention for CWD. People have worked for years on BSE and have found no cure. BSE is a similar disease.

A while ago, Stuart or someone has a post on a vaccine that is far from being on the market. If a vaccine is ever made, if it can ever be fed naturally,I do not believe Vita Rack will be the company to decide where and how it should be used. The vaccine would need to be used under carefully controlled conditions.

I suspect we will see a change in what products can be used in MInnesota in the near future.

02-01-2011, 03:47 PM
I have no problem with using artificial means to control problematic wildlife diseases, as long as there is tangible scientific proof that the goal is accomplished without some ancillary side effect that creates more of a problem for the resource then the original malady. An oral rabies vaccine has been used with some success, to stop the spread of rabies among raccoon and fox populations in some southern states.

As far as vita-rack, I was not familiar with the product but 30 seconds at their website was enough to eliminate just about any credibility they might have. When somebody starts making the claim that mineral supplements, food plots and habitat improvements will result in improved genetics, it becomes quickly apparent that they lack a fundamental understanding of whitetail reproductive biology and herd dynamics.

Btw, there is ample evidence that CWD does not require direct nose to nose contact or shared saliva to be transmitted. Prions can exist dormant in soil for years and if a deer comes into contact with that contaminated soil, the disease can be passed, which is likely the vector underlying the recent outbreak in MN.