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Ohio wants hunters to take CWD check stations seriously

Ohio wants hunters to take CWD check stations seriously

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Are all hunters taking chronic wasting disease (CWD) check stations seriously? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that way. In Ohio, there are mandated Deer Surveillance Areas (DSA) in seven townships – five in Holmes County and two in Tuscarawas County. As of 1 p.m. on opening day of the deer-gun season on Dec. 2, Ohio Division of Wildlife (OHDW) officials had only nine deer checked in at the Walnut Creek Township Garage in Trail, The Columbus Dispatch reports. 

And officials believe that more than a mere nine deer had been shot that morning. 

“Our goal is compliance,” said OHDW’s District Three manager Scott Angelo. “We want to get all the deer in the DSA sampled so we have the data to get through this three-year cycle.”

DSAs were established to keep CWD away from wild deer after it was confirmed in a breeding pen in eastern Holmes County, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Hunters who did comply with the mandatory CWD check-in followed the state’s regulations by having the lymph nodes removed from their deer for testing. 

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“I found out about the mandatory check station through the ODNR website,” said Mike Pratt. “I don’t know that much about CWD, but I saw the requirement so I drove on down. It’s not that far out of my way, and these guys make it easy.”

While the state has an updated deer check system in place and requires all hunters who kill a deer during the deer-gun season in Salt Creek, Paint, Berlin, Walnut Creek and Clark Townships in Holmes County or Sugar Creek and Wayne Townships in Tuscarawas County to take it into one of the two check stations or “drop off the head and five inches of neck to a freezer located in Berlin,” only some have done so. 

“This is the first year I brought in a deer, and more or less, it’s because of the rule,” said William Troyer. “It wasn’t much of a hassle for me. Hopefully this helps clarify that there is no CWD in the wild.”

These specific DSAs will stay in place for one more year. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the mandatory DSA checks were only conducted during the deer-gun season and are not required during the upcoming bonus weekend or muzzleloader season. If you did take a deer during this season and you didn’t drop off a sample or visit a CWD check station within the seven-township DSA, OHDW says you should expect a call over the next several months.

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