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Second Chronic Wasting Disease Case Found in Maryland Deer

Deer in a field of high grassThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources received laboratory confirmation on February 28 that a second white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The adult female deer was harvested in Allegany County in December 2013 during firearm season.

The first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland was reported in February 2011, also from Allegany County. Maryland is one of over 20 states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

“Chronic wasting disease has become firmly established in the region since it was initially found in West Virginia in 2005,” said Karina Stonesifer, acting director of DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service. “The department has followed this outbreak closely and has been prepared to find additional infected deer in Maryland. We have sampled intensively for this disease since 2002 and see this as an unfortunate but inevitable outcome. We will continue to manage CWD with the best available science to minimize the impact on our deer population and the people who enjoy these great animals.” 

Concerns over CWD should not stop anyone from deer hunting and enjoying venison. There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans, livestock or other animals. As always, hunters are advised to never consume the meat of sick animals. Hunters should also avoid the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer — all of which are normally removed during the butchering process.

This is the second positive sample out of nearly 7,500 deer tested in Maryland since 1999. Since 2010, sampling efforts have been focused on Allegany and western Washington counties due to the presence of CWD in nearby West Virginia, Virginia, and recently, Pennsylvania. 

CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord of deer and elk, specifically white-tailed deer, moose, mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. While the exact cause is not known, it is believed to be a prion disease. A prion is an altered protein that causes other normal proteins to change and cause sponge-like holes in the brain. The disease appears to be passed between animals via saliva, feces or urine. For more information on CWD in Maryland, click here.

Anyone with questions may contact DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540. Keep up to date with DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

  • So, with CWD a real threat in REGION A, the current proposal chgs for this season include reduced doe limit to two and an APR to reduce young buck harvest. Seems like counter-productive measures to me !!
    ARP’s will not benefit our herd in any scientific or biological manner !!!

  • Donnie Sharpless

    If I remember correctly, It’s already (2) doe on public and (3) on private in Allegany County. So where’s the change. We seriously need to change the young buck harvest. All you get from a spike is really good tender venison. If all you are getting is a nice young tender deer, then shoot a doe which keeps your doe numbers down, lets those young bucks mature, which benefits the hunters and the deer herd in a positive manner. Hunters need to take a more productive manner in how we manage our deer herds instead of blaming everything on the DNR. “If it’s brown, it’s down ” is the dumbest management tool there is.

  • Michael Boswell

    So when are we going to stop hunting over baits in Maryland; or at least in the western counties where bait piles bring all the animals to the same location to infect each other?

  • Papa Marty

    Shot spikes the meet is just as good chances that they will breed are slim to none and once a spike always a spike.
    They don’t not grow more points even as they age.
    According to Texas Fish and Game research or so I’ve heard many times from many different people.

  • Papa Marty

    I spell better than last post would indicate.