“Unfortunately, the positive deer in Divide County doesn’t come as a big surprise, since CWD was found in Saskatchewan just a few miles north of Portal, N.D. last spring,” said Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “Our focus needs to now shift to taking measures to limit the spread of CWD within Divide County and to reduce the chances of it being introduced to new parts of the state.”
CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked.
Since 2009, 14 CWD-positive deer have been found in North Dakota, and all previous cases were from within hunting unit 3F2, which includes parts of Sioux, Grant, Morton, Hettinger and Adams counties in southwestern North Dakota.
“There is no treatment or vaccine for CWD and once it’s in an area, it’s there indefinitely,” said Bahnson. “The very few options that we have available are aimed at reducing the number, duration, and intensity of unnatural congregations of deer – that is a major risk factor for spreading any contagious disease.”