Concordia Parish will host public meeting about Chronic Wasting Disease
Published 3:38 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023
FERRIDAY — Concordia Parish will host a public meeting for community members to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease this month. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries placed parts of the parish in the CWD control zone this summer.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100 percent always fatal and infectious prion disease in deer. Symptoms often don’t show up in a CWD infected deer until the later stages of the disease which could take 18 months.
The public information meeting will be September 19 starting at 6 pm in the Concordia Community Center located at 26356 LA15. Johnathan Bordelon, Louisiana Deer Program Manager, said the meeting will be a great opportunity for people to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease, how it spreads and why it is a concern for the deer population.
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“We will have some hunters for the first time having to hunt with control area regulations and we want to afford folks an opportunity in the area to learn more,” Bordelon said. ”It is an opportunity for people to meet face to face and ask questions. There will be a few presentations. It will be a good overview for the public.”
There is no need to sign up or RSVP for the meeting. Public meetings were held last year in Tensas, Franklin and Madison Parishes. Bordelon said he met with Civic Groups in Concordia Parish this summer so the conversation about CWD has started at the local level.
Second year of CWD
This hunting season will mark the second season of Chronic Wasting Disease in Louisiana as the first positive was found at the end of the 2021-2022 season. Hunter harvested deer submitted for samples is the best way to detect the disease.
Louisiana has some minor changes to surveillance plans this year. The biggest change is simply adding more drop-off coolers around the control area and parishes close to CWD positive areas in Arkansas. Bordelon said they had seven drop-off coolers last year and will add six new locations this year.
The exact locations of the CWD Sample coolers will be released before the hunting season. Electrical connections for the coolers are being completed this week. Concordia Parish will have a surveillance goal of 100 samples but they would like to get more than that. Louisiana hunters submitted 2,364 samples last year.
Bordelon said he wanted to remind the public they could help by reporting symptomatic deer. CWD symptoms include stumbling, listlessness and drastic weight loss and are often seen at the later stages of CWD.
“They can report any deer they find dead on the property which look to have died of unknown circumstances,” Bordelon said. “We had a CWD positive deer that someone found on their property this summer in the control area. It was the 13th positive in the middle of Tensas Parish and it didn’t extend our range.”
The positive found this summer just confirms what the LDWF already knew, CWD is present in Tensas Parish. A southern trend of CWD positives this year did place the northeastern part of Concordia Parish in the control area. Bordelon said there was little public comment about the change.
He said their goal is to be consistent with how they define the zones. Right now the control area is defined by a 25 mile radius from the positives but the control area would only change at the end of the season with additional positives unless a positive was detected outside of the control zone.
“The wild card for us is if one pops up in a new area. There needs to be consistency and it isn’t practical to change the control zone each week,” Bordelon said. “We know the things we do now will set the stage for how we continue to operate.”
Louisiana is in an early stage of the fight against Chronic Wasting Disease while neighbors Arkansas and Mississippi are further down the road in the fight.
Slowing down CWD
Here is a basic rundown of the regulations from the LDWF used to slow the spread of CWD in the state deer herd.
- All supplemental feeding, including mineral or salt licks, is prohibited within the CWD Control Area. The purpose of this feeding ban is to reduce the potential for the spread of CWD through artificial congregation of deer at bait sites.
- The use of approved bait not normally ingested by deer for feral hog trapping will be allowed.
- The export of cervids, cervid carcasses or part of a cervid carcass originating within the CWD Control Area is prohibited, except for: meat that is cut and wrapped; meat that has been boned out; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.
- Export exceptions for taxidermy, which require permits, have been established. The deer head waiver permit must be completed before moving the deer head outside of the CWD Control Area to a taxidermy business. The permit is available on the LDWF CWD webpage (link above). Additional taxidermy waiver instructions on transport and disposal are available by visiting: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Hunting/Deer/Files/Taxidermy-waiver-instructions-CWD-Control-Area.pdf