he Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest hunter-conservationist organization in North America, has released a position statement on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
“CWD is not new news, but its threat to deer and elk is increasing, which should be a concern to every sportsman,” said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “As hunter-conservationists, we’ve had to address threats to wildlife before, but none like this.”
Chronic Wasting Disease is a highly contagious, always-fatal disease that affects cervids such as deer, elk, and moose. It is difficult to detect in live animals because there is not a practical test to determine if live animals are infected. Additionally, the outward physical and behavioral signs of CWD often take several years before they are readily observable. There is also no vaccine.
“The disturbing reality of CWD is, not only that it is spread from direct animal-to-animal contact, but infected animals shed disease agents called “prions” that contaminate the environment,” explained Club member Dr. John Fischer, director of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. “Once in the environment, these prions can stay contagious for years. Even controlled burning of the land and freezing temperatures cannot completely remove the threat of uninfected animals contracting the disease.”
CWD has now been detected in captive and wild cervid populations in 25 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. Attempts to eradicate the disease have failed, and efforts to control its spread through herd reduction, hunter surveillance and other methods have had limited success.
“We’re well past the wake-up call,” stated Hollingsworth Jr. “The Boone and Crockett Club is committed to working with all who may be concerned and doing whatever it takes to extinguish this threat.”
The full position statement can be read at this link.
For more information visit the CWD Alliance website. http://cwd-info.org/
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.