The problem has been around for thirty years. It is traced back to a study done by a graduate student at Colorado State doing nutrition research at the division of wildlife pens. The deer in his study were stressed out nutritionally and housed with sheep which had scrapies which is the sheep form of spongiform encephalitis. Most agree that the high stress environment created a mutant protein which allowed the disease to mutate and spread to deer and elk in the facility. Many of these animals were let go into the wild after the study plus there was a lot of other contact with wild animals. Lab type environments commonly create bad things but the population is always destroyed before the disease can get into other populations. Here they had deer withering up and dying however they chose to disregard it. Animals were sold to other states research pens and to fenced enclosures therefore spreading and proliferating the disease. This was done after Colorado knew they had a problem but still chose to disregard it. Now it is believed by many that hunters returning home from Colorado through the years unknowingly brought CWD to the midwest and east with carcases of there Colorado kills. Although it has been around for thirty years it has just been getting a lot of press lately when game breeders brought it to the forefront because they were losing small fortunes they had worked so hard for because of this Colorado blunder of knowingly selling and shipping animals that were known to have a strange and mysterious unknown disease. Colorado could have stopped it when it first started but now that it is in the wild population and deer herds being as large as they are now east of the rockies there is no stopping it. It is not a matter of if it will get to your area, only a matter of when it will get there. Whitetails as well as muleys can contract the disease.
It is sad to say, but I know that you are very right. Washington state where I live seems to be the only state in the union where elk are on the decline. Wish our game agents would explain that to me and a bunch of other hunters! I know its coming here, and I also relize that our game department haven't planned for it in any way. Our state officials are still trying to cover up some hyjinks over the Canadian lynks "count" that they tried to fix. Wish there was some way to hold them accountable for there wrong-doings. littletoes.
****!! Thought I left that crap behind when I moved out of the western Nebraska panhandle (15 minutes from Wyoming and a little over 1 hr from Colorado) to North Central Washington. I remember getting a notice from the Nebraska DF&G 2 years ago about possible CWD in herds in the area that I hunted, a couple months after the season though.
Littletoes: Question for ya: Is the White Elephant store in Spokane worth a trip? I've heard they have good prices on powder/bullets etc., and occasionally I have matters that take me over to Spokane, though I haven't made a dedicated effort to get in there yet.
littletoes..ain't you figured it out yet. WA F&G manage people, not the resourse. I asked one of the biologist out of Deer Park area, what the buck to doe ratio was in the Colville area. He said 100 to 1..go figure. I've sent questions to them on their site and they NEVER answer. Check out their site and look at their projects...butterflies??? No doubt this State's management is gone a long way away from Game Management. Just look at the recent Lynx story, etc. The commission seems to me to be heavly weighted to fishing (fly fishing purist). Just my observation. Sorry but I don't have to much good to say about them..biggest problem is they won't listen to anyone about anything. Sell licenses and give out tickets and accomodate tribal whims.
Haven't had a chance to do any elk hunting here yet. Heck, I'm still 0-3 on Bambi for the last three years. I just moved here March of last year.
I can definitely tell the difference btwn the Nebraska DF&G, and the WDFW. Seems like someone told me the WDFW is partly(mostly?) funded by state budget (correct me if I'm wrong here) where as the Neb. DF&G is mostly funded by the revenues it accumulates from hunters and fishing. Therefore, the Neb. DF&G actively tries to stimulate interest in the outdoors and encourage people to come back for more. On the other hand, it seems like the WDFW people act like the wildlife areas are some pure and holy temple that people shouldn't be allowed to defile w/ their presence or interact w/. And their game laws and practices reflect it, as far as I can see so far.
Beautiful state, lots of game, lots of gun-nuts, but a crappy DFW.
milanuk..As far as I know ALL collected monies go into the State General fund and then given out from there...bad deal to say the least. Thats my understanding, unless someone else has more info. These fees were supposed to go for game management and fisheries enhancement, etc., but a lot of it never gets back..then they have a problem with actually doing what they get paid to do. It's a mess and I don't look for it to get better. There is some good bucks (forget bulls), but you have to pretty much pack in or have private land to hunt. Probably why I pay the high fees to go to Montana every year or whenever I can. Lots of blacktails but them buggers are about as tough to hunt as anything I've seen. Mostly due to pretty thick habitat and not much in way of pattern as there is not much typical food source most guys from farming country are used to. They are tough! Where you been hunting elk? Been in the Blues?
I haven't been elk hunting yet. I live about 5 minutes from the Colockum Wildlife area, but I'm somewhat leery of going hunting up there (really small GMUs, and *lots* of people). The only other area that I've been to w/ elk is down btwn Yakima and Mt. Rainier (dunno if those are the Blues) when dropping off the stepson to go bowhunting w/ his dad and uncle in that area.
I may try rifle hunting in the Colockum this year, as convenience is always an asset
Hey Wildart, another sad story about our state and how they handle game management. I grew up around deer park. The answer I got from a game biologist was 130 to 1. He said it might even be higher than that (140 to 1) because they do there surveys from a distance off of the surrounding fields and make an average. Talked to "someone who knows" about CWD in our state. He said that the state of WA is already testing for it on all reported road kills and at game check stations during hunting season. littletoes.
Seen a few cows last year, even called in a nice bull. Had to wait for a couple of cows to move before we could keep hunting. They bedded on a hill just above where we wanted to pass, 400 yards above us. All this took place just before the season started, and we wern't huntin elk. Just wanted to see if we could call one in. Buddy had a moose tag he filled the following weekend. Didn't realize there were so many peaple in and around WA that were interested in long range shooting and hunting. Killed a mulie a few years ago that was over 600 yards with a 300 win mag. No one can believe it except the 5 witnesses that were with me. They all thought it was over 800 yards. 5X6 mulie. Antlers arn't real tall, but big, big, body. Figgured he was gettin old and headding on the down side for antler size. Teeth were purty wore. But that's one memory I'll never forget.