Chronic Waste Disease Has Some Worried About Deer Hunting

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Right now it's deer hunting season, and as hunters target their prey, a disease is targeting deer.

It's called Chronic Wasting Disease, and experts says it's similar to mad cow disease.

Right now - you at home have had a lot of questions about Chronic Wasting Disease and what it means for hunters in North Carolina.

Experts with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission say it is a dangerous disease that only affects deer.

"It affects the brain, and the spinal cord in ungulates such as deer, elk, mule deer, reindeer, moose, etc. It is 100 percent fatal and certainly something we do not want to have in North Carolina," said Thomas Berry, the Commissioner at Large for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

"We do have signs and symptoms that we ask hunters to look for in sick deer. This could be low weight, if they're walking in set patterns, and another good one especially for Chronic Wasting Disease is excessive drooling and urination," said Merril Cook, a Wildlife Biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

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The good news is we don't have the disease in North Carolina yet, which is something the Wildlife Resources Commission wanted to make very clear. 

You can see on this map from the National Wildlife Health Center, the closest case to us came from northern Virginia. 

However, experts in our area are keeping a close eye on the situation. 

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"The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is doing a super job of monitoring it through roadkills, hunter harvests, taking a spinal tap to sample to brain to determine whether it is in the state or not," said Berry.

Dr. Cook says right now, there is no reason to be alarmed, but if you ever worry you killed a sick deer, call your local biologist so the deer can be tested.  

To reach our local biologist you can contact Jason Allen at 336-524-9801

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