CWD Roundup – July 2023

June 30, 2023 By: Torin Miller

CWD Roundup is the National Deer Association’s (NDA) bi-monthly update on all things chronic wasting disease (CWD). We’ll provide the latest updates on CWD spread, research and policy from across North America. Updates are provided alphabetically by state and province.


In mid-June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) confirmed that a road-killed 4.5-year-old female white-tailed deer in Holmes County sampled during routine surveillance activities tested positive for CWD. It is the first known case of CWD in Florida. The FWC has been monitoring free-ranging deer since 2002 to detect CWD. During that time, the FWC has tested approximately 17,500 hunter-killed, road-killed and sick or diseased deer for CWD.


In mid-May, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported CWD was confirmed in 96 deer that were tested during the 2022 monitoring season, including deer from three new counties – Jasper, Grundy, and Lucas. Twenty-nine of the 96 positives- nearly one third – came from focused antlerless hunts in localized areas where DNR has found a high density of positive deer.


In early May, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (Kentucky Fish and Wildlife) filed a lawsuit seeking civil damages against a Louisville hunter who illegally brought into Kentucky the head of a deer that was harvested in Wisconsin and later tested positive for CWD (the imported carcass was reported by taxidermist). It is the first time Kentucky has sought civil damages against a hunter for importing a diseased deer carcass. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is seeking nearly $1,900 in damages – the amount represents the department’s costs of investigation, testing, prosecution and disposal of the infected carcass parts.


In early June, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) announced it has modified the CWD Control Area in northeast Louisiana to include a small portion of northeast Concordia Parish. The CWD Control Area now includes all of Tensas Parish and portions of Concordia, Madison and Franklin parishes. The move was necessitated due to detection of the disease further south in Tensas Parish. Louisiana has detected 12 CWD positive deer, all in Tensas Parish, since January of 2022.


In mid-May, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that 38 white-tailed deer sampled within Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties in 2022 tested positive for CWD. Of the positive samples, 34 came from within the existing Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (Allegany and Washington counties), while three positive samples came from Frederick County and one positive sample came from Carroll County. In response to finding positive samples in Carroll and Frederick counties, the CWD Management Area has been expanded to include all of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties.


In early May, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed CWD in one white-tailed deer from a farmed cervid facility in Newaygo County. The infected four-and-a-half-year-old deer was discovered through routine testing as part of the state’s CWD surveillance program for farmed deer. Since 2008, including this new case, CWD has been detected at 11 Michigan cervid farms in the following counties: Kent (2), Mecosta (4), Montcalm (3), and Newaygo (2).


In late May, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law an omnibus budget bill that contained multiple provisions that tighten regulations with respect to captive deer herds in an effort to curb the spread of CWD in the state. Provisions include a moratorium on new deer farms in the state, new procedures for captive deer facilities to comply with following the detection of CWD on the premises and the transfer of responsibilities for administering and enforcing statutes and rules related to captive cervids from the Board of Animal Health (BAH) to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In late June, Minnesota DNR removed deer feeding or feeding and attractant bans in 24 counties to focus restrictions on areas where risk of CWD spread is of greatest concern. DNR notes that changes to counties affected by feeding bans reflect DNR’s commitment to an adaptive CWD management strategy.

New Hampshire

In early May, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) reported that the state’s white-tailed deer population once again demonstrated no evidence of CWD, based on monitoring data gathered during the 2022 hunting season. In 2022, NHFG biologists collected 385 samples from hunter-killed deer, with significant support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services in Concord.


In late May, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife confirmed 11 additional white-tailed deer tested positive for CWD in Marion and Wyandot counties. Seven of the CWD-positive deer were bucks, and four were does. Testing was performed on deer harvested by hunters during the 2022-23 season, as well as on deer taken through targeted removal efforts in February and March. Since the fall of 2020, a total of 22 wild deer have tested positive for CWD, all in Wyandot and Marion counties (16 in Wyandot, six in Marion).


In early June, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) reported a white-tailed deer in the Oklahoma Panhandle tested positive for CWD. This marks the first case of CWD in a wild deer in Oklahoma. A Texas County landowner reported the deer to ODWC after witnessing it behaving abnormally. ODWC has activated the next stage of the CWD Response Strategy jointly produced with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.


In early June, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) reported that more than 400 wild deer tested positive for CWD since July 1, 2022. Of those, 243 were harvested by hunters. Both numbers are up from the year before when 261 deer overall, 174 of them harvested by hunters, tested positive. Since July 1, 2022, the PGC has collected nearly 11,000 CWD samples from deer. Hunter-harvested samples made up the bulk of those, with more than 7,000.


In early May, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) received confirmation of a new case of CWD in a deer breeding facility in Sutton County. This case marks the first detection of the disease in the county. The four-year-old white-tailed buck was detected using antemortem (live-animal) testing to determine if the animal was eligible for transfer to a registered release site. Initial investigations indicate 10 additional breeding facilities and 18 release sites may have been impacted from previous transfers received from deer that originated in the Sutton County facility.

In late May, TPWD received notification of a new case of CWD in a free-range white-tailed deer in Bexar County. TPWD will implement disease containment measures and provide recommendations on mitigating disease transmission in the city of Hollywood Park, where the positive deer was captured in late January as part of an effort to reduce overabundant deer populations.


In mid-May, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed that a Dodge County deer farm tested positive for CWD.  The positive sample was taken from a 9-year-old doe. The 8-acre farm has been placed under quarantine, meaning no live animals or whole carcasses are permitted to leave the property.

In mid-May, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed a wild deer tested positive for CWD in Wood County in the town of Rudolph. The deer was a 3-year-old doe, reported sick and dispatched by local department staff. This is the second confirmed CWD-positive wild deer detected in Wood County. This recent detection of CWD in Wood County will renew a 3-year baiting and feeding ban in the county.

In late May, DATCP confirmed that a Sauk County deer farm has tested positive for CWD. The positive result came from a 1​0-year-old doe. The 22-acre farm ​has been placed under quarantine, where it will remain while DATCP and USDA veterinarians and staff conduct the epidemiological investigation.


In early June, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WGFD) Wildlife Health Laboratory reported that it tested 6,701 samples from big game animals for CWD in 2022. CWD was not detected in 5,875 samples, while 826 samples were positive.

In mid-June, WGFD confirmed the presence of CWD in Deer Hunt Area 131. The disease was detected in a targeted mule deer buck near Rock Springs that was euthanized by wildlife managers in late April. Deer Hunt Area 131 is in the Green River Region and is part of the Sublette mule deer herd where CWD was first detected in 2017. The area is bordered by six CWD-positive areas: 92, 96, 98, 100, 132 and 138.

Alberta, Canada

In mid-May, Alberta Fish and Wildlife reported CWD surveillance results from samples collected during the 2022-23 hunting seasons. CWD was found in 23.4% of 2,457 mule deer, 8.3% of 1,556 white-tailed deer, 1.6% of 320 elk and 2.9% of 175 moose. Overall, evidence of CWD was detected in 15.8% of wild deer, elk and moose.  Infection rates are the highest around the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, with close to a 50% positivity rate.

About Torin Miller:

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Senior Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a J.D. from Penn State Law. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.