CWD supposedly came into the Northern IL counties of by way of Southern WI several years back. As such, each year the IDNR expands its CWD testing, adding additional counties every year. And guess what, each year these new counties find a deer or two that test positive. Here's what that means:
- sharpshooters in "hot"areas. At the gun deer check stations, hunters are asked to point on a map to where they shot their deer. This info accompanies the sample from the animal. (Who is to say that these locations are accurately reported by the hunter? Would you want sharpshooters to annihilate the herd in your township for one positive CWD case?) - unlimited archery antlerless tags -with once was a lottery gun drawing, county specific - all hunters applying in the "lottery" now draw tags, and there are always tags left over which can be purchased over the counter as bonus tags. Nobody gets turned away. Nobody. - additional late winter/CWD seven day gun season in addition to the regular firearm and muzzleloader seasons (split 4 days in late December and 3 days in mid January, with UNLIMITED antlerless gun tags offered over the counter for $5 each. Buy as many as you want, and kill as many antlerless deer as you want. Use your unfilled regular season tags, too. Oh, and about that 2 antlered deer per season regulation, that no longer applies in this seven day season as long as you still have either-sex tags in your possession.
The county I hunt went from consistently being the #5 deer kill county in the state to no longer being mentioned. Deer numbers are WAY down, and the number and quality of bucks is super disappointing. Sure, there will always be big bucks in the county, but unlimited deer kills really take their toll after 4 or 5 years. Deer drives are the most popular method during the late season, and the deer get hammered (fawns, does, shed bucks, racked bucks, you name it). Almost like deer are treated like vermin. Sickening.
So here's the game: each year a couple new counties are added to the fray. Increased license revenue to the IDNR, increased profits to the insurance agencies. Because outside of CWD, deer-car collisions are the concern that establishes the deer population in a given county. And once even one deer is tested positive for CWD, hell is unleashed and that is never going away. Pretty convenient for the DNR and the insurance companies, wouldn't you say?
You see, prions spread CWD. And prions are left in the soil from feces, saliva, or a dead infected deer. Prions are then present - FOREVER - for a deer to pick up. I mentioned this to a biologist at the check station, and he confirmed it. I asked him about all the spinal columns that are tossed in the field after butchering a deer, especially because there is now no transport allowed out of the state. He said that hunters ideally should be burying all body parts under at least 6" of soil. I say, good luck with that, especially when the ground is frozen. So once CWD is detected in a county, it is pretty fair to say that it will be there forever.
That's my rant. I say to all IL hunters, this program is headed to your county in the near future. I would wager that if they set up test stations at every IL county during gun deer season, they would find a CWD positive in each county. The wave of the future, I suppose. But when it arrives at the beloved county that you hunt, be ready for a drastic change in your hunting expectations. Unless you like to buy unlimited tags and shoot every deer that walks. Not looking for debate here, folks, just my observations and beliefs.
Science has come along way especially at the Molecular level.
My daughter is doing cancer research for one of her prof's at Stanford and they say they have cures at the molecular level for 30% of the cancers out there right now. Of course it will take a decade minimum to jump through all of the testing hoops....and even if they are too optimistic....point is, they are starting to figure this stuff out in a big way.
They will figure out the prion thing.
CWD is real and it can be devastating to a herd, and trying to reduce the spread is a good thing. They have some studies according to the biologist I spoke with that it can be spread to humans by consuming infected meat. The draft offers a free testing service for the deer you kill and notify you with the results, nice to have confirmation your not eat/feeding infected meat to family and friends.
Now, I think that fewer deer being around for a couple years will just make it so you have to hunt harder to fill the freezer, fine with me. The upside is some or hopefully a lot of these outfitters who gobble up land and lock out your average resident Hunter is a good thing. I have said for the last few years that Ohio is the next Illinois, and each time I turn on the outdoor shows they're talking about Ohio. Also think baiting , illegal in Illinois but we all know it's ramped, and urines sales should be halted, synthetic only.
Many states are overreacting, as the OP notes. In our area they tried to literally slaughter all the mule deer, then realized the huge mistake because they were likely also killing those with a natural resistance to it. Funny, but the more testing of deer that occurs in different locations, the more they find it. They've found it in Norway and South Korea, too.
Based upon some of the other threads, this whole problem can be blamed on crossbows being allowed in archery season.....
We have it here also, but at least our state hasn't went nuts over it......yet. I'm of the opinion that it's always been here, but what do I know. I'm fairly certain that the spread is tied to game "farms" more in our state than in wild deer. Of course the game "farmers" highly dispute this because there's big money involved. The only deer that have been destroyed here (because of CWD) have been captive deer. I hope it stays that way but who knows.
Lends credence to the theory that it existed in US cervids long before 1967
And unless EVERY SINGLE DEER is killed in a county where CWD had been found, there will always be a deer eventually wandering across prion contaminated soil. CWD is there to stay! So the question becomes, would the herd take care of itself without open slaughter, and would nature develop resistance in strong animals as it has for millions of years in other species? Do we already have a majority population of deer that are, in fact, unaffected by the disease? Without being able to test for a deer's genetic code for this situation, I guess that the DNR will just keep shooting them and convincing us that we are doing it for the "good of the herd". It is really flawed to think that every (or even the majority of) negatively tested deer would acquire CWD if they had contacted a positively tested deer, or an area of soil with prions present. Is there any scientific data to prove percentage odds of transfer from one animal, or site, to another animal?!
Don't get me wrong - if CWD is proven to be deadly to humans than I say all bets are off. That's not the present case, and hasn't been for decades out West. But CWD is a convenient excuse for the extreme in herd "management", and it conveniently plays right into the hands of the DNR, insurance and farming industries. I don't buy it. And I don't trust the testing results that are published either. Again, just my take.
In IL in a CWD county, the IDNR is discovering that even with an all-out war on deer, only so many deer can be killed each year. At least with current regulations. At some point, not every piece of ground is hunted, and not every hunter is ruthless. In fact some hunters may back away from killing any does, etc. But in the words of another biologist at a check station, "we're giving hunters the chance to reduce the herd. If they don't we will send in shooters who will do it over bait." There's just no escaping the slaughter.
They literally walked on peoples property...no permission asked and just killed ALL the deer. You don`t see deer in the fields in the evening....no road kills...nothing. Now they don`t even buy tags. I know taxidermists that would take in 100 deer heads a year go down to 11.....car repair shops (Insurance angle) lost tons of business.
People were buying highway Billboards protesting what the DNR was doing. Don`t think it can`t happen to you as your DNR turns into a enemy of the outdoorsmen.
My, how far we’ve come!
I took the big mule deer populations and the amount of nice bucks we had in this area for granted. Now if I see a couple does and a forky its a conversation topic at camp. Which is a welcome break from the normal conversation of "Man, I haven't seen a deer all weekend?"
I have yet to see any state address the use of urine based scent lures which come from farmed cervids. Knowing that CWD can be spread by urine and the linkage between the occurrence of CWD, it would seem that pouring urine on the ground is like lighting the fuse of a stick of dynamite and holding it in your hand.
nobody knows ....