Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is quite a hot topic in the deer hunting world lately and should not be taken lightly. With numerous cases creeping outwards, the southern states are attempting to take as many preventative cautions as possible to keep this fatal disease out of our deer herds. CWD is an infectious, incurable disease of animals in the deer family that causes brain cells to die, ultimately leading to the death of the affected animal. If that isn’t scary enough, experts now urge hunters to avoid eating venison from a CWD-positive animal even though there are no documented cases of humans contracting CWD from eating wild game. While CWD is already found in 26 US states, what are the precautionary steps in place to prevent the spread of this devastating disease? What can you do as a hunter to prevent the spread of CWD?
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department (LWFD) - Deer Program manages the statewide
whitetail deer (WTD) herd using the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). This program is a 4-tiered approach where each tier will include various levels of WTD management and increased or
decreased involvement of a LWFD staffed wildlife biologist. Tiers range from (1) Quality or Trophy WTD
Management where hunting properties need to be at least 1,000 acres to tier (4) where there is no
minimum acreage. This would be a depredation permit tier and minimal data would be collected from
each harvested animal. The participant would need to read over each tier and talk with an LWFD staffed
biologist to understand what level of WTD management would be right for their hunt lease.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AG&FC) Deer Program manages the statewide whitetail deer (WTD) herd using the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). This program is a 4 leveled
approach that includes levels ranging from Depredation Management which is WTD density control, to
Healthy Deer Management, which includes maintaining the WTD herd below carrying capacity, to
Quality Deer Management which involves a more intense doe harvest and allowing bucks to reach at
least 3.5 years of age, and finally Intensive Deer Management where buck harvest is selective and needs to reach a minimum of 4.5 years and doe harvest is high.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) Deer Program manages the
statewide whitetail deer (WTD) herd using the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). This
program includes data collection from hunter harvested WTD and education of hunt club members who are actively participating. Data collected under DMAP is used to develop site specific harvest
recommendations and to put participating hunt clubs in a better position to manage their lands for a
healthy WTD herd, while maintaining high quality WTD habitat.