National Wildlife Federation Outdoors

Commencing the CWD Chronicles: An overview of the disease & the Issues we’ll cover for this series.

January 27, 2022

Matt Dunfee is a career CWD expert and in this episode he walks us through everything from the discovery of the disease to how its affecting deer populations today. Along with a deep dive into the biology of CWD, we talk about the responsibility that hunters have and the fears they face around CWD. Join us for this incredible primer on what’s happening out there and what needs to be done about it.  

Modeled Impacts of Chronic Wasting Disease on White-Tailed Deer in a Semi-Arid Environment

Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer

Endemic chronic wasting disease causes mule deer population decline in Wyoming

Socially Amplified Risk: Attitude and Behavior Change in Response to CWD in Wisconsin Deer

Reduction of Chronic Wasting Disease Prion Seeding Activity

Digestion by Mountain Lions

mountain lion paper


Show notes:

3:30 – Who is Matt Dunfee?

4:45 – What is CWD?

9:56 – CWD is always fatal. What’s is caused by?

11:37 - Discussing the incubation of CWD. What does the incubation period represent?

13:40 - Animals infected with CWD do not display symptoms immediately. How does this affect management?

16:00 - Infected versus uninfected. What are the best terms to use?

16:37 - Deer infected with CWD die at a higher rate than uninfected animals from all causes.

17:35 - What does it take to destroy a CWD prion?

19:55 - Discussing a study regarding CWD prions being denatured in the digestive track of mountain lions.

22:25 - Trying to manage this disease in free ranging cervids on the landscape.

26:34 - CWD origin story. Where did it begin? How did it start spreading? Is it endemic in cervids?

33:48 - GIS mapping of CWD coming soon! Until then check the link above for CWD mapping from USGS.

37:11 - Discovering CWD in new locations… “The first time you find it is not the first time it was ever there.”

40:00 - The latest in CWD testing, prevalence and population level impacts.

47:25 - CWD and the potential of jumping species… including the potential of it jumping to humans.

59:52 - Unpacking why it seems to be more prevalent in bucks and bulls.

1:03:47 - Population declines in whitetail and mule deer in areas with very high prevalence of CWD.

1:08:36 - “CWD Fatigue”

1:12:47 - What are the various factors that prevent the spread and promote good management?

1:20:22 - We need to be clear on effective management of CWD (reducing prevalence and stopping spread) and the importance of the state fish and wildlife agencies.

1:27:15 - Closing statements from Matt Dunfee, Ashley Chance and Aaron Kindle.

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