January 26, 2011
Do You Live in fear of a CWD Zone?
By Scott Bestul
I do. Because today the Minnesota DNR announced that lab tests confirmed that a doe killed by a bowhunter last fall has tested positive for the disease. Here’s the story, released this morning by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The CWD-positive deer was shot near the town of Pine Island, about 50 miles from my home. Interestingly, there was a large captive elk herd in the same area that had to be destroyed a couple a couple of years ago, after (you guessed it) CWD was discovered during random testing.
Now don’t mistake me; I harbor no paranoia about the disease itself. But I live just across the Mississippi River from Wisconsin, where an entire hunting culture was thrown into disarray when CWD was discovered. The DNR set an early—and in my opinion, impossible—goal of “eradicating” the whitetail herd in a large area surrounding the first positive. I know people who live in this zone, and to a man they will tell you that deer hunting has never been the same.
Should we test for and monitor CWD? Absolutely. We should also study this mysterious killer of whitetails with a reasonable application of manpower and finances. But drastically alter population goals and disrupt hunting opportunity because we fear a disease that we know very little about? You’ll have to convince me on that one. So what are your thoughts? If you live in a CWD-positive state, are you happy with how your state agency has responded? And if you don’t, are you afraid your DNR will over-react in the wake of that first “positive”?