Woodbury County under deer surveillance days before shotgun season

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Just days before the shotgun hunting season begins in Iowa, Woodbury County is under deer surveillance after a roadkill deer tested positive for Chronic Waste Disease.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is still encouraging hunters to continue with their hunting season as usual but they are asking for help to pinpoint the spreading of the disease that causes a degeneration of the deer’s brain.

“Deer hunting is one of the biggest traditions in Iowa. Iowa is known all over the world for its whitetail deer hunting,” said Doug Chafa, wildlife biologist.

That’s why the Iowa DNR is asking for help from hunters this year before chronic wasting disease becomes an even bigger problem.

16-year-old Paul Brockhaus is one of those who looks forward to Iowa’s youth deer hunting season every year.

“I just like going out outdoors. I’ve killed two [deer] so far,” said Brockhaus.

Hunters like Brockhaus spend their time where deer roam and could play an important part in pinpointing the spreading of a disease that causes degeneration in the brain of deer.

Doug Chafa, a wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), explained what the disease is and why they’re turning to hunters for help.

“Unfortunately, there was a roadkill deer here near Sioux City where that roadkill deer was confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Chafa. “With this recent detection positive, were going to focus and our goal is to get 100 samples.”

Wildlife Biologist Chafa described how identifying the disease can be a challenge.

“In the early stages, the deer can look completely normal. In the end stages, when it becomes symptomatic, it’s always fatal. The deer will start wasting or losing muscle mass, have odd behaviors, and their tongue may hang,” said Chafa.

These symptoms may sound alarming to humans, but Chafa said there’s no immediate need for concern.

“They haven’t found it to jump from deer to humans but the DNR relies on the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and they recommend having your deer tested,” said Chafa.

More than 100,000 deer could be harvested in Iowa this year and Chafa said each of those hunters has a stake in this issue.

“Report your roadkill so that we can sample the deer and don’t feed the deer and or put salt blocks and mineral licks out. Those things artificially concentrate deer in a very tight spot and they swap saliva”, said Chafa.

For more information on where to drop off your deer for testing samples, visit iowadnr.gov.

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