The Future of Western Hunting and its Greatest Threat!

Mtnhunter1

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CWD and its effects on the future of our western hunting.

To catch your attention:

CWD was detected in the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming this last November. Some Wyoming biologists have called for phasing out or eliminating elk feeding in northwestern Wyoming altogether. The biologists have stated that to continue the practice of feeding the elk in Wyoming with CWD on the landscape could be a big mistake. Why you ask? Because CWD could potentially be the beginning of the end of all deer/elk hunting as we know it! That’s why!

Take this study as an example:

In Wyoming’s Converse County, the mule deer herd that lives southwest of Douglas has been the subject of an extensive CDW study. In that study, the mule deer population that once numbered some 14,000+ in the early 2000s has dwindled to half that size in about a decade due to the effect of CWD. The study estimated that CWD is causing an estimated 19% annual reduction in the studied mule deer population per year and could potentially wipe out the herd completely in roughly the next 40 years! This should concern every last one of us!

“QUOTED” from Wyoming F&G page:

Recent research in Wyoming has demonstrated declines in both mule and white-tailed deer populations in deer hunt area 65 due to CWD. These declines are in the core endemic area where prevalence is highest. In areas with lower prevalence, effects of CWD are poorly understood but are considered additive along with other factors that can negatively affect deer populations in Wyoming (i.e. habitat loss, predation, and other diseases).
The distribution and prevalence of CWD in Wyoming elk is less than that of deer. Currently there are no documented direct population impacts in Wyoming elk from CWD; however, research from Rocky Mountain National park suggests that CWD could impact elk populations at higher prevalence (13%). While CWD has been found in free ranging moose, there have been little detection, and there is no evidence that CWD is currently having an impact on moose populations.

Some of Wyoming’s Biologists don’t agree with the above public statement presented on Wyoming’s website. Seems that there are more than a few units in Wyoming that have been struggling with CWD affected deer and elk herds. These biologists also stated CWD is spreading quicker than publicly stated. One of the results that these biologists are seeing in the CWD affected herds is that older age class bucks are almost nonexistent!

CWD info, for those of you that are unaware or have not been paying attention!

CWD is the most contagious of the three transmissible spongiform in animals. It can be easily transmitted from animal to animal via direct or indirect contact with secretions or excretions, such as saliva, urine, and feces.

The incubation period of CWD, in captive deer/elk, has been observed to be 16 to 36 months, with an average incubation period of 22 months. This is followed by a sick period of less than 12 months until death. CWD-infected deer/elk can be infectious to other deer/elk for up to 18 months prior to their death. CWD is a killer and makes bitching about our western predator population seem kind of a moot point!

The CWD prion protein can also persist in the environment for several years. The infected soil serves as a reservoir for infectivity. CWD prion proteins have been shown to extensively bind to certain soil minerals, remain infectious for a number of years, and even increase infectivity over time with the binding of soil minerals. So, the CWD disease can be transmitted to live animals by a CWD-contaminated area in the absence of any infected deer/elk. With this, I wonder how many infected areas that us hunters have caused with our “Gutless/Boned-Out/DIY” successful hunts? Also, might this environmental CWD soil contamination be the cause of this disease’s spread to states like WI, IA, MI, MN, etc.? How many hunters, in the past, have hauled their deer/elk back home from a successful western hunt and disposed of those critter’s bones in the back forty or nearby public lands?

As has been reported, Montana is now CWD positive. The disease is spreading both from the south, Wyoming, and from the north, Canada. Montana FWPs will be conducting CWD testing this year in our widely famous and extremely popular south eastern Montana. I have little doubt, and expect that, CWD will be discovered there also!

Montana FWPs is also leaning towards a bit of a different approach in dealing with this devastating disease.

“QUOTED” from Montana FWPs:


Montana CWD Management Plan, is aimed at maintaining low densities of deer and low buck:doe ratios in hunting districts with CWD and adjacent hunting districts to keep disease prevalence low and prevent disease spread. We are proposing to manage for lower buck:doe ratios because bucks are two to three times more likely to be infected with CWD and more likely to spread it through the population.

I’m wondering just how this management plan will be implemented in SE Montana once CWD is detected? Go back to (2) deer A-tags and unlimited OTC B-tags maybe? Seems that this would reach the CWD objectives on all the public accessible lands in a season or two! Then where would all the hunters ago?

It should be noted that I was mostly uneducated on everything CWD related until it hit closer to home here in Montana. I have been educating myself since! Seems that CWD does not hold the sportsman’s attention! I expected to see more reads and replies to a thread started by “Dieseldog” in the “Sportsman’s Issues” forum of this site. That thread contains some info and even a great “BigFin” PODCAST on the subject! But that thread has only received (9) posts and (450) or so reads since 12/16. Hell the recent thread on DRONES commanded over twice the interest in half of the time!

If for nothing else, I hope that this read has opened some eyes on probably the biggest threat to the hunting opportunities we’ll see in the decades to come. I’m thankful that I am now in my mid 50’s and have topped the ridge and started the slow slide down the backside of life. I don’t perceive the CWD progression to impact me much in my next decade or so. But if I was a younger hunter, I might take an interest in CWD as it could start to affect most hunting opportunities in the future. CWD could also start affecting those LE Trophy units that require a decade or two worth of points in order to draw the tag!! Just a thought!

Mtnhunter1
 

7 mag

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Excellent post and like you I've read studied and researched everything I can on it I think a lot of the blame for the low deer and elk numbers in certain units here in Montana are due to cwd as, much as other factors
 

timmy

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Global warming of hunting. Let’s test every animal that gets shot before we change management practice with incomplete science.
 

antlerradar

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Montana's plan is doomed from the start. FWP is going to try to continue to manage numbers with region and state wide tags. All that is going to happen is the already low density on Public land is going to get worse and deer numbers on private land will be unchanged. The densely populated private land is where CWD is going to hard to control not the sparsely populate Public land. I understand that it is going to be hard to get landowners to allow more hunting but if FWP is serious about CWD they have to try. I have my doubts that any progress can be made on opening up private land with the current season structure and changing that is a hard sell. At the very least FWP could target the vast majority of doe tags for private land, but even this met with resistance from FWP. My fear is that FWP will use CWD to justify the current management.
 

JLS

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I think a lot of the blame for the low deer and elk numbers in certain units here in Montana are due to cwd
I would disagree with you on this. Many of the elk units in Wyoming where CWD has been documented for decades are crawling with elk. Even their deer units with CWD have arguably better numbers than many MT units.

It certainly is a concern now, and moving forward.
 

Gerald Martin

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This is one of the reasons I am going to ask our legislators to introduce a bill next session increasing the hunting season from a paltry eleven week length to a full sixteen weeks to give all us more opportunity to fill our tags. We deserve to get the last one before the wolves kill most of them and CWD gets the rest.

Think I should volunteer to serve on the FWP's advisory board?
 

7 mag

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I would disagree with you on this. Many of the elk units in Wyoming where CWD has been documented for decades are crawling with elk. Even their deer units with CWD have arguably better numbers than many MT units.

It certainly is a concern now, and moving forward.
They also have just as many wolves, in some of those same units as montana does I think the other issue faceing montana wild life is, thier extremely long hunting and shoulder seasons putting way to much stress, pressure and strain on the elk and deer
 

bennirio

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I have listened to Big Fin's podcasts about CWD and I wish I could do something about it. Is there anything out there us hunters can do? I know about not transporting the carcass/spine/brain matter. Are we just slowing the bleeding with the current policies? Is RMEF, MDF, or Muley Fanatic Foundation addressing this along with other issues they tackle? Would like to help. Is it an issue to bring up with local government? I love bothering those guys. I'll keep searching for ways to help. I agree it needs more attention paid to it. Thanks guys.
 

Hunting Wife

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Excellent post and like you I've read studied and researched everything I can on it I think a lot of the blame for the low deer and elk numbers in certain units here in Montana are due to cwd as, much as other factors
No units in Montana currently have anywhere close to high enough prevalence of CWD to see impacts to populations.
 

7 mag

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I truely think it's, much more wide spread in Montana, then game and fish is admitting,
It's now showing up in our moose and elk they are finding it in more units through out the, state
In the 35 yrs I've lived hunted and ranches in. Montana, the one thing I've learned is our game & fsh department doesn't tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth
 

Hunting Wife

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The problem is that you can't see visual effects until like 8 weeks after they're infected. Sure it'd help but it's not the solution.
Where did 8 weeks come from? It takes much longer than that.

We will agree to disagree
I get tired of starting from scratch every time a new CWD conspiracy theorist shows up on the forum, so unless anyone is interested in actual exchange of information I will simply recommend the search function. This has all been discussed ad nauseum.
 

rjthehunter

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Where did 8 weeks come from? It takes much longer than that.



I get tired of starting from scratch every time a new CWD conspiracy theorist shows up on the forum, so unless anyone is interested in actual exchange of information I will simply recommend the search function. This has all been discussed ad nauseum.
My apologies, it's months not weeks, at least that's what I remember reading based off what the mn dnr released earlier this year. Looks like about 18 months of incubation time.
 
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