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Published: Friday, 1/22/2010

Ohio's deer herd dodged chronic wasting disease

Ohio's deer herd has been found free of chronic wasting disease, a degenerative brain disorder that affects elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer, for the eighth consecutive season of testing.

State and federal agriculture and wildlife officials collected 571 samples from hunter-harvested deer from 44 counties, primarily during the deer-gun season that ran Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said. All CWD testing is done by the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

All 571 samples of the hunter-harvested deer samples also were tested and found to be free of bovine tuberculosis, a disease that has afflicted northeast lower Michigan's deer herd but which now is being controlled there.

Other CWD samples are taken from road-killed deer through April, but initial test results are not yet available.

Since 2002, the wildlife division, the ODA's Division of Animal Industry, and the wildlife and veterinary services section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, have conducted surveillance throughout the state for CWD and bovine tuberculosis.

Although CWD has never been found in Ohio's deer herd, it had been diagnosed in wild and captive deer, moose, or elk in 15 other states and two Canadian provinces, including a single case two years ago in a captive whitetail doe in Michigan. Since CWD was discovered in the western United States in the late 1960s, there has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.

For further details on CWD, visit wildohio.com or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at cwd-info.org.

Few changes are in store for 2010-11 hunting and trapping regulations as proposed recently to the Ohio Wildlife Council by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

As in recent years, Sept. 1 is proposed as the kickoff date for the state's fall hunting seasons with the opening of squirrel and dove hunting.

Other proposed hunting and trapping rules and season dates will be similar to those now in effect, with only slight changes to fall and spring hunting dates.

The remainder of the proposals concerning Ohio's white-tailed deer hunting will be heard during a separate Wildlife Council meeting on Feb. 3. A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m. March 4 at the wildlife division's District One office at 1500 Dublin Rd. in Columbus.

Open houses will be held on March 6 in each of the state's five wildlife districts to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting on-line at wildohio.com.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is set to vote on the proposed rules and season dates on April 7.

Stay off Lake Erie - The weekly report from the Ohio Division of Wildlife's fisheries station at Sandusky puts it this way, in bold print:

"Recent temperatures above freezing have created the potential for unstable ice on Lake Erie. There have been very few good fishing reports on the main lake over the past week."

John Hageman, an ice guide at Put-in-Bay, pulled his shanties at mid week and said he would wait out the 15 to 25 mph northeast winds forecast into the weekend. He said that thin ice, four-wheeler and airboat break-throughs, and currents have made the ice off Catawba Island unstable as well.

On the weekend - The Sertoma Club's annual charity big-game dinner is set for tonight at Holland Gardens, 6530 Angola Rd., Holland, with social hour beginning at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit speech-impaired children and adults. Only limited tickets will be available at the door, so call in advance to Ned Plummer, 419-478-6854.

Contact Steve Pollick at:

spollick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6068.



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