Category Archives: Outdoor News

TB in Deer

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) can be found in white-tailed deer. The disease can have widespread consequences because it jeopardizes domestic animals, wildlife populations and humans. Bovine tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium bovis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs in mammals, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease of cattle that occasionally affects other mammals, such as deer. The disease is a significant zoonosis that can spread to humans, typically by the inhalation of aerosols or the ingestion of unpasteurized milk. Eradication programs have reduced or eliminated tuberculosis in cattle in developed countries and human disease is low.

Livestock are fairly easy to control, but wildlife populations are challenging from a disease management perspective. TB reservoirs in wildlife can make complete eradication of the disease impossible. Bovine tuberculosis is still common in less developed countries and severe economic losses can occur from livestock deaths. In some situations, this disease may also be a serious threat to endangered wildlife species.

States Test Deer for TB

Wildlife officials in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio recently launched a joint monitoring effort for TB after an infected deer was discovered in southeastern Indiana. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will operate a check station in Boone County during the first two weekends of modern gun season for deer, Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 19-20, as part of that monitoring. TB has not been documented in the Kentucky deer herd.

The department also will operate check stations in Bath, Nicholas and Fleming counties on those same weekends in a monitoring follow-up after the discovery of an infected cow in that area in 2010. Hunters will be asked to bring their deer by the check station so biologists can take tissue samples for testing.

Hunter-Harvested Deer

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Veterinarian Iga Stasiak said the state agencies intend to stop the disease from spreading further, which would impact livestock and wildlife populations. “These efforts will help us determine whether or not bovine TB is present in our deer herd,” she said. “Participation in this survey effort may help ensure the long-term health and stability of wild deer populations in Kentucky.”

Testing will consist of collecting a few lymph nodes from the deer’s head. Hunters who wish to have their deer mounted can provide the name of the taxidermist so that arrangements can be made to collect samples from that location. The voluntary testing, which is designed to obtain TB samples from 500 deer from each of the two regions, is part of a joint monitoring effort by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Kentucky’s TB Check Stations

  • Boone County: Boone County Cooperative Extension office, 6028 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington,.
  • Bath County: Bath County Cooperative Extension office, 2914 East U.S. 60, Owingsville.
  • Nicholas County: Nicholas County Cooperative Extension office, 268 East Main St., Carlisle.
  • Fleming County: Fleming County Cooperative Extension office, 1384 Elizaville Road, Flemingsburg.

Providing Assistance

Hunters outside of these areas can assist with monitoring for TB in deer as well. Hunters who see swollen lymph nodes, nodules in the lungs or chest cavity in any deer they are field dressing should report this to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible. If you see something, say something.

Why Do Deer Dig Up Lawns?

Deer Can Dig?

Yes, deer can dig to some extent. Actually, they can dig more than you might expect for an ungulate, an animal with hooves. Deer may be the smallest members of the North American deer family, but they care adept at getting to want they want. White-tailed deer as well as mule deer and exotic deer can all use their hooves to excavate the earth. In some cases, the holes they make can become quite large.

Deer Attracted to Lawns

Deer are attracted to yards for a number of reasons. First, many residential yards are irrigated. This means lush vegetation is going to be found there. Before they even dig up your lawn, they are already attracted to it because it looks good.

Lawns are typically fertilized, as well. This means that the plants found growing in your yard will also taste good to a deer. Wild animals such as deer can taste increased nutritional content. It’s how they were built; deer are designed to seek out the most nutrient-rich foods.

Deer Dig Up Foods

Deer are herbivores that browse. They will eat weeds as well as the leaves and stems of trees and shrubs. White-tailed deer, in particular, consume very little grass. They spend most of their waking hours searching for something to eat.

Deer are different from grazing animals such as cows in that they need high quality foods, foods that are easily digested. Deer foods must be energy-rich. Grass is not easy to digest so it does not make up a large part of their diet. So when deer visit a yard they are not looking for grass. If that were the case some suburban areas with high deer numbers would have zero grass cover.

Deer will consume plant parts rich in energy that grow underground, such as bulbs, which is why deer are often digging up yards, irrigated lawns and flower beds. There is something good for them to eat down there! Deer have got to eat, right?

Prevent Deer Digging in Yards

If you see digging in your lawn the first thing to do is identify the animal doing the damage. There are a number of animals will dig in a yard, with the most obvious ones being armadillos and wild, feral hogs. Armadillos create a number of small digs, maybe 2-4 inches in diameter, throughout a yard. Feral hogs can make large holes approaching 1-3 feet or even more in diameter!

The most important part of preventing damage to you yard or residential lawn is to pay attention to why deer are there, digging in the first place? Food. Remove what they want. Look at what they are digging up. The best offense is a good defense. Do not replace dug up plants with the same species. Switch gears completely and go with plants that are not attractive to deer. If they are eating your bulbs then it’s time to plant something else.

Economic Impact of CWD Will be HIGH

Whether you are a hunter, a motel owner or simply a tax paying citizen you should be concerned about the economic impact of chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD has been described as an always-fatal neurological disease that impacts cervids. This means mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and other big game species found throughout North America.

The North American Model of Conservation weighs heavily on the shoulders of big game hunters. This model also delivers wildlife conservation efforts for both game and non-game species. White-tailed deer are THE most popular big game species that hunters seek, yet CWD threatens whitetail populations across the US.

Declining Whitetail Populations Means Hard Economic Impact

Source: “About 40 percent of the CWD-positive deer that enter a year are going to survive to the end,” Edmunds said in an interview. “It doesn’t bode well, especially in our population, where we have these high prevalence and incidence rates in female deer.

“In ungulate populations,” he said, “females are what drive population dynamics and so when you’re having only 40 percent of a large percentage of your female population survive through the year, that’s where we’re getting these population declines.”

Whitetail deer free of the neurological disease, by contrast, survived through the year 80 percent of the time.

Edmunds’ study found that hunting was the main cause of mortality for diseased buck whitetail. Before the disease manifested itself in significant physical changes, he found, it apparently triggered subtle behavioral changes that made whitetail bucks more susceptible to hunters’ bullets.

Chronic wasting disease itself, which causes deer to waste away in body and mind, was the leading cause of death for does.

Economics of Whitetail Deer Hunting

Deer hunting across the US is a huge economic engine, likely responsible for at about $35 billion in economic activity. This represents almost half of all hunting-related expenditures/monies. Almost $15 billion are generated from retail sales directly related to deer hunting.

This is especially important to rural communities where hunters travel, eat and sleep. The spread of CWD may seem like an inconvenience to all involved, but it’s impact will be felt and especially hard on rural towns if deer numbers decline as the study above suggests.

Range & Wildlife Management Workshop in Menard, Texas

Managing a Ranch for Healthy Range and Wildlife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Menard County Soil and Water Conservation District will team up to present a range and habitat workshop from 8:15 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Murchison-Whitehead Complex in Menard located on U.S. Highway 190.

“We have a lot of information packed into this meeting on topics ranging from horned toad management to managing toxic plants,” said Lisa Brown, AgriLife Extension agent in Menard County. “We’ll also have some top speakers, serve lunch and offer continuing education units, so this will be a well-rounded program from several angles.”

Registration is $25 per person or $30 per couple. Participants are asked to preregister by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3 for an accurate lunch count by calling the AgriLife Extension office in Menard County at 325-396-4787. More information is also available at that number.

Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units – two laws and regulations, one general, one drift minimization and one integrated pest management will be offered.

Menard Range & Wildlife Workshop To Include

1. How Brush Management and Pesticides Affect Horned Toads, Dr. Jim Gallagher, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department natural resource specialist at Mason Mountain Wildlife Center, Mason.

2. Pesticide Laws and Regulations, Beau Whisenant, Texas Department of Agriculture regional education specialist and inspector, Leander.

3. Newest Laws and Research on Feral Hog Control Methods, Justin Foster Texas Parks and Wildlife Department research coordinator, Kerrville.

4. Dow AgroSciences Update, Dillion DeMuth, field representative, Georgetown.

5. How to Minimize Drift When Using Chemicals for Brush and Weed Management, Gerald Hobson, Bayer Environmental Science, range and pasture specialist, Peaster.

6. Managing Toxic Plants, Dr. Bob Lyons, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Uvalde.

Mississippi Taking Deer Hunt Applications for WMAs

Whitetail season is just around the corner and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is gearing up! Starting August 1, MDWFP will accept draw permit applications for deer and early season teal on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Applicants must apply online. All hunters (including under 16, over 65, and handicap) applying for a WMA draw hunt must possess a current valid WMA Permit or a Lifetime Hunting License to apply for a WMA Draw Hunt. After purchasing or renewing your license you must wait 24 hours until you can apply.

Permitted deer hunts are available for Black Prairie, Canemount, Charles Ray Nix, Hell Creek, Great River Road, Mahannah, Natchez State Park, Sardis Waterfowl, Sky Lake, Trim Cane, Twin Oaks, and Yockanookany WMAs. Permitted youth hunting opportunities are available at Canemount, Sardis Waterfowl, Natchez State Park and Trim Cane WMAs. Applicants for youth deer hunts must be 15 years of age or younger.

Deer Hunting in Mississippi

Special permitted handicapped hunting opportunities are available at Sardis Waterfowl, Natchez State Park, and Trim Cane WMAs. Applicants for handicapped deer hunts at Trim Cane WMA must have a physical condition which makes them fully dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. Permitted early season teal hunts will be available at Howard Miller and Muscadine Farms WMAs.

For more information regarding teal and deer hunting on wildlife management areas in Mississippi, check out the MDWFP website or give them a call at 601-432-2199. Mississippi has some great deer and some of those WMAs are hidden gems!

Florida Alligator Hunting Permits

Now is the time to apply for alligator hunting permits in Florida. Since 1988, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has provided hunters the chance to participate in its annual recreational statewide alligator harvest that runs August 15 to November 1 annually. There are, however, some changes this year to the application process that hunters need to know.

Florida Alligator Permits: Phase I application period

The application period for the Phase I random drawing begins May 6 at 10 a.m. and runs through May 16. More than 5,000 alligator harvest permits will be available. Hunters can submit their application for a permit that allows the harvest of two alligators on a designated harvest unit or county. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by Aug. 15 and have a valid credit or debit card.

Applications may be submitted at any county tax collector’s office, license agent (most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies) and at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, and applicants must provide their credit card information when they apply. This is a new change to the process from previous years. There is also a cancellation feature, which allows applicants to update their hunt choices or credit card information during the first three application phases.

More Chances at Alligator Permits

Any alligator permits remaining after the Florida’s first phase will be offered during the Phase II random drawing May 20-30. Those who were awarded a permit in Phase I may not apply during Phase II. Remaining permits will be available in Phase III to anyone who did not draw a permit in either of the first two phases, and they may be applied for June 3-13.

If any hunting permits remain after Phase III, there will be a fourth-phase issuance period beginning at 10 a.m. on June 17 until all permits are sold. Anyone may apply during Phase IV, even if they were awarded a permit in one of the earlier phases. Customers who are able to purchase additional permits will only be charged $61.50, regardless of residency or disability.

Cost of Florida Alligator Licenses and Permits

Cost for the alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two hide validation CITES tags is $271.50 for Florida residents, $21.50 for those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, and $1,021.50 for nonresidents. The cost for applicants who already have an alligator trapping license is $61.50.

Things to Know About Alligator Permits in Florida

Within 3 days of an application period closing, applicants can expect to see an authorization hold on their credit card verifying there is a sufficient balance to cover the cost of the hunting permit, but this does not mean they will receive a permit. Once the credit card authorization process is complete, the lottery drawing will be held. All successful applicants will be charged, while those who were unsuccessful will have the authorization hold lifted from their credit cards.

Successful applicants should expect to receive their alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two CITES alligator tags in the mail within 6 weeks of payment. Alligator trapping licenses are nontransferable. All sales are final, and no refunds will be made. For more information on alligator hunting or the application process, see the new “2016 Guide to Alligator Hunting in Florida.”

Pond Management for Mississippi Property Owners

Many landowners have surface water and are interested in pond management on their property. The principles of managing ponds and lakes are the same whether you have a pond in Texas, Ohio or Mississippi. When it comes to manipulating the pond found on your property it is just a matter of learning the processes that effect other aspects of your water body, which can be for fish or waterfowl management.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are hosting a pond management workshop in Claiborne County. The workshop will be held at the Claiborne County Extension Office located at 510 Main Street in Port Gibson on Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m.

An hour-long presentation will include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming, and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow. Those interested in attending the workshop are asked to register by calling the Claiborne County Extension office at (601) 437-5011.

“This workshop will allow biologists and private pond owners the opportunity to discuss management options to improve fish populations and habitat,” says Jerry Brown, MDWFP fisheries biologist. “We talk to people each year that want to manage their ponds effectively and this is a great way for us to provide personal how-to information that can help pond owners achieve their goals.” Learning techniques that influence water parameters and fish populations is the key to sound pond management for private landowners. Interested persons need to contact the number above since this sounds like a great program.