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Study: Hunt More Bucks to Slow Chronic Wasting Disease

Wisconsin researchers say if we hunt more bucks, we can help slow the spread of CWD.

Chronic wasting disease was at the center of a University of Wisconsin study published earlier this year on PLOS ONE, and the results indicated a strategy that may help quell the effects of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer populations.

Christopher S. Jennelle, Ph.D., and Professor Michael D. Samuel at UW-Madison led the peer-reviewed study, and looked at the effects of three separate harvest approaches.

“Of the three harvest strategies, male-focused harvest resulted in eventual decline of CWD prevalence to under 5% by 2060,” the study said, leading many to believe hunting more bucks may help reduce CWD numbers. The post-harvest population density remained stable under the researched conditions, meaning buck hunting didn’t greatly impact the total number of deer as much as previously thought.

Deer harvest data from Wisconsin’s 2002 to 2013 hunting seasons was used in the study, which may be a small sample size but is significant considering CWD is a relatively new occurrence in the greater picture of hunting’s history.

Though it is likely not an end-all, be-all solution to the CWD issue, higher buck harvest quotas, combined with other efforts like vaccinations, may lead to an overall improvement in number of cases and prevalence of the disease.

DO you think higher buck quotas will truly help CWD? Or are there other ways to battle this disease? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Study: Hunt More Bucks to Slow Chronic Wasting Disease