COLUMBUS — Hunters in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties have extra dates to harvest a white-tailed deer as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife continues to monitor for chronic wasting disease in the region.
Since the fall of 2020, 11 wild deer have tested positive for CWD in Ohio, all in Wyandot and Marion counties. In response, a disease surveillance area was established in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties. Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and other similar species, including mule deer, elk and moose.
Beginning this year, the division of wildlife established earlier hunting seasons to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease by lowering deer concentrations within the disease surveillance area. Archery hunting season begins Sept. 10, and an early gun hunting season will take place Oct. 8-10 in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties.
CWD sampling within the disease surveillance area is required for all deer harvested Oct. 8-10, Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 12-13, as well as during the entire seven-day gun season (Nov. 28 through Dec. 4).
Staffed sampling locations will be available during the seven-day gun season at the Big Island Wildlife Area Headquarters, 5389 Larue-Prospect Road West, New Bloomington; Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Headquarters, 19100 County Highway 115, Harpster; Wyandot County Fairgrounds, 10171 State Route 53, Upper Sandusky; Rural King, 233 American Boulevard, Marion; Hardin County Fairgrounds, 14134 County Road 140, Kenton; and McGuffey Conservation Club, 6950 Township Road 55, Ada.
Hunters can use self-serve kiosks to drop their deer off for free voluntary sampling throughout the deer season from Sept. 10 to Feb. 5. Outside the seven-day gun season, hunters should use self-serve kiosks for mandatory sampling. Kiosk locations are available at ohiodnr.gov/cwd and instructions for sample submission will be provided at the kiosk.
Hunters statewide are encouraged to submit deer for sampling. Successful hunters are not required to surrender their deer. Those with questions on having their deer sampled can call 419-429-8322. Outside the disease surveillance area, hunters may test a harvested deer at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a fee. Call 614-728-6220 for more information.
In addition to mandatory testing, there are some other regulations that apply within the disease surveillance area. The placement of or use of bait (salt, minerals or any food) to attract or feed deer, as well as the hunting of deer by the aid of bait, is prohibited.
The removal of a complete carcass or high-risk parts from the disease surveillance area is prohibited unless the carcass complies with deer carcass regulations, or the carcass is delivered to a certified taxidermist or processor within 24 hours of leaving the area. Additional information on carcass regulations and a complete list of certified processors and taxidermists can be found at ohiodnr.gov/cwd.
Normal agricultural activities, including feeding of domestic animals, as well as hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants, and agriculture crops are not prohibited.
To help protect Ohio’s deer herd, hunters should properly dispose of their deer carcasses by double-bagging all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes, and lymphoid tissue) and setting it out with their household garbage for trash pickup, when permitted by waste disposal facilities.
Those without trash pickup can double bag the carcass and take it to a municipal solid waste landfill or bury the carcass at least 3 feet deep on the property of harvest. The division of wildlife will provide receptacles in the disease surveillance area for proper carcass disposal. The proper handling of carcasses, trims and parts dramatically decreases the risk of spreading disease.
For more information about chronic wasting disease, visit wildohio.gov, contact your county wildlife officer or call 419-429-8322.
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