"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Jury is Still Out on Presence of CWD in Hoosier Deer Herd
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Scifres

So what is new with the chronic wasting disease (CWD) situation in Indiana?

One word tells the story: NOTHING! 

Still, that is what Hoosier outdoors folks--including deer hunters--want to know.

So there it is, the way things stand right now, according to Glenn Lange, director of the DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

"We haven't heard anything yet--one way or another," Lange told us Monday morning. "If we hear anything--either way--we will let you know."

Lange referred to the fact that through the early bow season (starting October 1) and the first weekend of the general firearms season for deer, DNR and Indiana Department of Public Health officials collected  most of the deer heads they wanted for tests of their brains. The program, which eventually will involve some 3,300 deer heads, collected all the samples needed to blanket the state except for 100 or so samples, Lange said.

Lange said the brains of roughly 1,000 deer have been sent to laboratories around the country, adding that the other sample brains will be preserved and can be analyzed if they are needed to fill gaps in coverage of the state.

Lange said the last of samples needed may have been taken over the past weekend, the second weekend of the general firearms season.

Lange's thinking on the possibility of CWD being present in Indiana differs substantially from the thinking of this reporter. He thinks it is quite possible that CWD will not be found in Indiana, and this reflects the thinking that the Indiana deer herd is not now afflicted by CWD.

The wildlife chief also believes that CWD is not an inherent disease among deer everywhere, but that it has been spread (by transporting infected animals) from one part of the country to another.

Lange bases this thinking on the fact that CWD has been present in Colorado for some 30 years, and that its spread eastward has been a slow process. He believes this has been brought about by movement of deer by man.

He voices further doubts that CWD will be found in Hoosier deer by pointing out that deer in Indiana are not known to have shown symptoms of CWD.

It is true, Lange says, that Indiana's deer herd suffered significant losses to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in the southern part of the state in 1996, but adds that considerable testing of infected animals then showed no signs of CWD.

If CWD had been present, it probably would have been discovered then, Lange said.


In the meantime, the last count of the bow harvest of deer was conducted after the first weekend of the general firearm season. At that time bowbenders had reported taking 10,467 deer since the opening of the early bow season on October 1.

This, incidentally, will be the last harvest report on deer until well after the late bow season ends January 5 next year. The Bloomington Office of the DFW does not have enough personnel to conduct the deer harvest count when the firearms start booming.

That total bow harvest figure translates into a 30 percent deficit from the corresponding period last year when 13,833 deer were taken by the bow folks.


This is a story about a little fat guy's encounter with a big fat guy . . . or vice versa.

The little fat guy, wearing a warm brown coat came waddling along the brushy fence row to inspect the fallen fruit of the big, forked black walnut tree. After appearing to weigh several nuts, he selected one and with front feet and teeth working harmoniously shredded away the blown, dry husk of the nut. With the hard, black inner nut in his mouth, the little fat guy climbed a hackberry sapling and prepared to jump over onto a metal screen-like flat surface that was attached to the big walnut tree roughly 12 feet above the ground, at the top of a metal step ladder.

At this point the little fat guy encountered a problem. There was a big fat guy wearing camouflaged coveralls and a blaze-orange stocking cap sitting on the surface the little fat guy often used as a lunchroom.

Being much the smaller and having a mouth full of nut, the little fat guy could only flip his bushy, redish tail defiantly at the big fat guy. The big fat guy, who contends that he is only moderately fat, found it very difficult to avoid bursting his sides with laughter as he unblinkingly watched the eyeball-to-eyeball show for several minutes.

Eventually, the little fat guy meandered off through the fence-row saplings and disappeared--apparently looking for another lunch room.

What the little fat guy did not seem to know was that if he had sat on the big fat guy's lap to have lunch, he could have had part of a homemade peanut butter cookie for dessert.


All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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