Proposal calls for establishing chronic wasting disease deer surveillance areas

CWD was first detected last year in Ohio on a fenced-in deer hunting preserve in Holmes County. The infected deer came from Pennsylvania, and the preserve’s entire herd was euthanized to prevent the spread of the fatal brain disease to wild deer.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is considering the proposal, which would allow the chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife to decide whether disease surveillance areas are needed. The wildlife division has said that if the proposal passes, it may establish disease surveillance areas this hunting season in parts of Holmes and Wayne counties.

“The disease surveillance areas could theoretically be used this year,” said John Windau of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

A disease surveillance area designation would include all areas within a minimum of six miles surrounding a location where the disease has been detected. This designation would remain in effect for a minimum of three years.

The following regulations would apply within the disease surveillance area:

  • Require submission of harvested deer carcasses to Ohio Division of Wildlife inspection stations for inspection and sampling during deer gun and deer muzzleloading seasons;
  • Prohibit the placement of salt, mineral supplements, grain, fruit, vegetables or other feed to attract or feed deer;
  • Prohibit the hunting of deer with the aid of salt, mineral supplements, grain, fruit, vegetables or other feed;
  • Prohibit the removal of deer carcasses killed by a motor vehicle unless the carcass complies with special regulations.

Normal agricultural activities including feeding of domestic animals would not be prohibited. Hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants and agriculture crops also would not be prohibited.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is expected to vote on the proposal in October. If passed, it would go into effect Nov. 9.

Amy Graves 

Amy Graves is a communications specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau.