Chronic wasting disease found in Guernsey County deer
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of chronic wasting disease at a Guernsey County hunting preserve. It is the second confirmed case of the disease in the state.(Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)The Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed the diseased deer was found at Dakota Outfitters, located near Quaker City. The deer was recently transferred from a captive breeding facility in Holmes County, Walnut Hollow Whitetails near Sugar Creek.
Both facilities have been placed under state quarantine and will be subject to increased monitoring. The quarantine will remain in place until the state believes the disease can no longer be transferred from either facility.
“While the confirmed case is unfortunate, this proves the necessity of testing and monitoring the health of captive deer populations in Ohio,” state veterinarian Tony Forshey said in a statement.
Chronic wasting disease is among a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which includes mad cow disease. The diseases are caused by misfolded rogue proteins called prions. The disease is always fatal, but the state reports there is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans. People are still encouraged not to eat an animal diagnosed or showing signs of the disease.
Ohio’s first case of chronic wasting disease was discovered in 2014, also at a hunting preserve. In that case, the state eventually euthanized more than 500 deer at a Holmes County facilitybecause of concerns of spreading the disease. The state found a total of 19 deer with the disease in that case, including 16 found when the herd was euthanized.
Hunting preserves allow customers to pay for the right to hunt deer typically bred at what are essentially deer farms. The deer are often bred for larger antlers. Dakota Outfitters website reads in part that the facility provides “a geologically superior place to breed and manage MONSTER whitetail bucks.”
There are 29 hunting preserves in Ohio and approximately 400 breeding farms, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The classic hunt at Dakota for a “super price for a super trophy” costs$4,500. The “Monster Hunt” for bucks scoring 261″ to 300″ costs $14,900. Larger buck hunts are offered, but prices are not listed online. Representatives from Dakota did not return a call seeking comment.
Chronic wasting disease has not been discovered in Ohio’s wild deer population. It has been found in the wild in Michigan, Illinois,Pennsylvania and numerous western states.