LDWF thanks deer hunters for CWD samples participation, encourages more testing

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) would like to thank state deer hunters for participating in statewide chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling and continues to encourage hunters to have their harvest tested for CWD, free of charge.

The sampling assistance from hunters is one of LDWF’s best tools in monitoring for the disease. CWD has not been detected in Louisiana but has been found in deer in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

A 2.5 year-old female white-tailed deer in Union County, Arkansas, 7.5 miles north of the Louisiana-Arkansas border, was found to have the disease last month. LDWF has implemented its CWD Response Plan and has increased ongoing CWD surveillance in Morehouse and Union parishes due to their proximity to the CWD detection. LDWF has collected slightly more than two-thirds of its sampling goal within these parishes.

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“Louisiana hunters understand how valuable the natural resources are here in the Sportsman’s Paradise,’’ said State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour. “We’re very pleased with the cooperation from hunters in our sampling effort. It’s key that we sample as many deer as possible so we continue to ask for their assistance.’’

The test also provides reliable assurance to hunters that CWD was not detected in the animals they harvested.

Hunters who would like to have their harvested deer tested for CWD are encouraged to visit our CWD testing website and follow the steps outlined on that page so a sample can be submitted to the nearest LDWF Field Office, or simply call their nearest LDWF Field Office for assistance

LDWF aims for a complete turnaround of two weeks, allowing hunters to obtain their results in time to enjoy their venison.

To begin the sampling process, hunters can:

  • Record the GPS location of where the deer was harvested.
  • Remove the head about five inches below the ear.
  • Deer heads may be caped with antlers and skull cap removed.
  • Do not freeze. Samples should be refrigerated or saved on ice.
  • Complete the online information gathering form and print the email received after completing that form.
  • Contact the nearest LDWF Field Office to arrange submission of the specimen.

Here are the LDWF Field Offices and contact info:

Baton Rouge Office  225-765-5030          2000 Quail Dr, Baton Rouge;

Hammond Office      985-543-4777          42371 Phyllis Ann Dr, Hammond;

Lafayette Office        337-262-2080          200 Dulles Dr, Lafayette;

Lake Charles Office 337-491-2575          1213 North Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles;

Minden Office           318-371-3050           9961 Hwy 80, Minden;

Monroe Office           318-343-4044          368 Century Link Dr, Monroe;

Pineville Office         318-487-5885          1995 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including Louisiana’s native white-tailed deer. It is infectious, always fatal, and there is no treatment. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue, which leads to excessive salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation, and death of the animal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that CWD has infected humans. However, the CDC recommends caution in handling venison in infected regions, and that deer be tested for CWD before consuming. CWD positive deer should not be consumed by people.

CWD has been documented in 26 states and three Canadian provinces.

LDWF has been sampling for CWD since 2002. To date, over 12,000 samples have been tested and CWD has not been detected in Louisiana.

Detailed instructions and more information can be found at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cwd-testing.

For more information on CWD, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cwd.