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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2003

No CWD found in Ohio deer

No evidence of chronic wasting disease has been found in white-tailed deer tested so far in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, say wildlife authorities in the three states.

CWD, as it is known, is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects whitetails, mule deer and elk.

Though international health authorities have said that no evidence has emerged that CWD affects humans, concerns in Europe over a relative of CWD, mad cow disease, have raised concerns about CWD and consumption of venison in the United States.

Though CWD has been traced to as early as 1967 in northeast Colorado and has been seen in many western states and two Canadian provinces, CWD's appearance in deer in Wisconsin more than a year ago prompted major concern.

Wisconsin undertook an extensive CWD eradication effort by attempting to kill thousands of deer in an infected zone in the south-central portion of the state.

It was the first outbreak of CWD east of the Mississippi River, but it since has been confirmed to a limited extent in the border states of Illinois and Minnesota.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, tested 665 deer brought by hunters to check stations during the December shotgun season.

“Laboratory tests by the Department of Agriculture did not detect the presence of chronic wasting disease in Ohio's deer herd,” stated Steve Gray, chief of wildlife.

The state, however, “will continue our intensive monitoring to safeguard the state's deer population,” the chief added.

As of January, CWD had been diagnosed in wild or captive deer or elk in Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, and Montana, plus Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada.

The Michigan departments of natural resources and agriculture, already experienced at deer-testing because of the ongoing battle there against tuberculosis in northeastern lower-peninsula deer, have found no presence of CWD despite extensive testing.

In 2002, the MDNR tested 4,363 deer and 119 elk, and so far this year it has tested some 70 deer and 4 elk, said Jean Fierke, a laboratory scientist at the MDNR's Rose Lake Wildlife Disease Laboratory.

All tested negative for CWD.

The MDA tested another 1,107 animals in 120 private deer and elk herds in 60 counties, and all were negative for CWD, said MDA spokesman Sara Linsmeier-Wurfel.

The state has tested some 18,000 deer for TB, with 51 positive tests, all in the disease's “hot spots” of the northeastern lower peninsula, Fierke said.

In Pennsylvania, more than 500 deer taken in the rifle hunting season all tested negative for CWD.

Monitoring of deer and elk there also continues.

The South Side Sportsmen's Club, which leases private land for hunting and conservation projects in Wood, Sandusky and Ottawa counties, this spring has released some 100 hen pheasants in hopes of bolstering annual production of this prized gamebird.

Included among the release sites was White Star Park, a 693-acre property managed by the Sandusky County Park District south of Gibsonburg and which contains several ideal grasslands nesting plots. Thirty-one hens were released there.

South Side annually releases some 1,800 male or cock pheasants on its leased lands. One of the state's oldest chartered sporting clubs, South Side conducts an annual youth hunt in addition to its gamebird releases.

The club also is active in developing habitat and food-plots for wildlife on its lease lands, is a hunting and fishing license-agent in Lucas County, and maintains a political action committee.

Its leased lands are around Oak Harbor, Woodville, Gibsonburg and Perrysburg. For other details on the club, call Rick Henzler, 419-535-1362.

DATEBOOK

Tonight - Public trapshoot, 6 to 10, Dundee Sportsmen's Club, 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., repeats Thursday 9 a.m. to noon and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; also, Saturday, euchre, 7:30 p.m.; also, Sunday, country breakfast, 8 a.m. to noon; call the club, 734-529-3581.

Tomorrow - Free fishing workshop for educators and youth volunteers, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Ohio Wildlife District 2, 952 Lima Ave., Findlay; Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs program; limited space; to register call District 2, 419-424-5000.

Thursday and Friday - Public trap and skeet shooting, 5 p.m., United Conservation and Outdoor Association of Hancock County, Township Road 243 north of U.S. 224, east of Findlay, Thursday shoots practice, Friday shoots practice plus protection trap; also, Sunday, Sporting Clays shoot, 9 a.m.; call Don Borkosky, 419-427-4236.

Friday - 13th annual fund-raising dinner, Maumee Valley Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation, at Jagel's Banquet Hall, Heatherdowns Place, 5072 Heatherdowns, Blvd., social hour 6 p.m., dinner 7:15 p.m., followed by auction, raffles, and program; call for tickets, Jeff Wright, 419-832-1461.

Saturday - Fly-casting lessons, 9 to 11 a.m., in the parking lot at Westgate Village, Secor Road and Central Avenue; repeats every Saturday; call Port Royal Fly Fishing Outfitter, 419-537-1491.

Saturday - Boating-safety classes, 8:30 a.m., Maumee American Legion Post 320, 204 Illinois Ave., Maumee; conducted by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; call 419-893-0249.

Saturday - Volunteers to remove debris and prune shrubs, 10 a.m., Kitty Todd Preserve, 10420 Old State Line Rd.; call The Nature Conservancy, 1-877-TNC-OHIO, extension 42.

Saturday - Cowboy action shoot, register 8:30 a.m., shoot 10 a.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg; call Bob Caswall, 419-862-2861.

Saturday - Sporting Clays spring rendezvous, 9 a.m., Rush Creek Sportsmen's Club, west of Kenton, three miles north of State Rt. 67 on Hardin County Road 85; call John Wilcox, 419-673-0507.

Saturday - Fourth annual “turkey university,” 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Gander Mountain, 1320 South Holland-Sylvania Rd.; hourly seminars, equipment representatives, displays; call 419-861-4800.

Sunday - Turkey shoot, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ottawa Lake Sportsmen's Club, Old U.S. 223, Ottawa Lake, Mich.; call Dave Price, 734-856-1806.

Sunday - Bowshoots: Willard Conservation Club, Willard, register 8 a.m. to noon; call Herman Collins, 419-935-3044; also, Tomahawk Archery, 2085 Erie Rd., Temperance, Mich., Pope & Young defense fund shoot, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; call Gil Kollarik, 419-691-5130.

April 15 and 16 - Hunter-education course, 6 to 10 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd., north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; to register call Jim Daniels, 419-698-3417, or Mike Szymanski, 419-244-5526.



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