OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation confirms that it has found the first deer in the state with a strange disease.
According to Wildlife officials, a white-tailed deer in the Oklahoma Panhandle has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). A Texas County landowner reported the deer to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation after witnessing it behaving abnormally. The deer was recovered near Optima and testing was conducted.
This marks the first case of CWD in a wild deer in Oklahoma. ODWC has activated the next stage of the CWD Response Strategy jointly produced with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
“While this is unfortunate news, it is not unexpected since CWD has already been detected in every state that borders Oklahoma. We will be working through our response plan to ensure we can monitor potential spread and keep our state’s deer herd healthy,” said Jerry Shaw, Wildlife Programs Supervisor with ODWC.
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the brains of deer, elk, moose, and other members of the cervid family, creating holes that resemble those in sponges. Wildlife officials say it’s important to note that CWD transmission from wild animals to people or to livestock has never been documented.
The Wildlife Department says it will continue monitoring for evidence of this disease within Oklahoma’s borders and will release additional information, including ways deer and elk hunters can help with detection and mitigation, as hunting seasons approach.
Additional guidelines or management plans will be distributed and well-advertised if determined necessary to further protect Oklahoma’s deer and elk populations.
For more information on the disease, hunting regulations, and proper disposal of infected animals, go to wildlifedepartment.com.