Results of tests done this fall won't be available until mid-December, but biologists are already predicting the disease hasn't hit our state yet.
Al Bourgeois, of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, says, "We haven't had to worry before. It was a western disease. Now it's in Wisconsin and people and agencies are saying we need to check."
Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, has biologists buzzing this fall. They're testing one thousand Virginian deer for this neurological disorder.
"We are taking precautions because it's a devastating disease for our wild deer population," says Bourgeois.
The disease has been around since the late seventies and confined to captive deer in the West. But now, fear of its spread has led to tougher deer herding laws in Virginia.
"The animal will stop eating. That's why it's called Waste Disease. In the end, the rib cage will be showing and they won't fear humans. They won't act properly," says Bourgeois.
If hunters spot a deer with these symptoms, they shouldn't kill it. Instead, they should report that animal to their local game warden. And they should use rubber gloves when handling their kills to prevent the spread of disease.
CWD in a deer cannot be cooked away, but there's no evidence it's dangerous to humans. And it's very rare.
"It's very low. With most wildlife diseases, you're looking at 5 percent or less of the population. It's not very much," says Bourgeois.
Bourgeois says there's no evidence yet that hunters here should worry this holiday. Game wardens say deer, bird and bear populations are all healthy this year. But they will continue to monitor for diseases just in case.
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Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed to this report.