With the acknowledgement that at least one animal has tested positive for CWD, Ohio becomes the 14th state where the disease has cropped up in at least one deer.
Ohio Department of Agriculture media relations spokeswoman Erica M. Hawkins says that up to 125 deer may have been exposed to the always fatal prion-based disease. All of the deer came from Pennsylvania with up to five possible candidate breeders, Hawkins says.
Hawkins says as well that once CWD was confirmed in Pennsylvania's captive-raised deer-breeding operations, Ohio's Agricultural Department moved immediately to "close its boarders" to any more deer imports from that state.
"It must be emphasized that none of the Ohio operations which imported deer from Pennsylvania did anything wrong," Hawkins said.
The one known case of a captive deer - a three-year-old buck and not a seven-year-old buck as has been commonly cited in the media - which tested positive for CWD came from the "World Class Whitetails of Ohio" big-game hunting preserve (www.bestdeerohio.com). This operation is located near Millersburg in Holmes County.
World Class Whitetails of Ohio quietly has been under quarantine since April 15.
Originally 43 Ohio entities were under Ohio's quarantine protocols. In all, 22 of these operations saw their quarantines lifted once the Agriculture Department confirmed through testing that no CWD existed in their respective captive deer herds.
However, quarantines continue to exist with the remaining operations, including five big-game hunting preserves, of which World Class Whitetails of Ohio is one.
Ohio has 539 licensed deer-breeding operations, each required to obtain their permits from the Agriculture Department, not the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It is the former that was prescribed the lead agency in managing captive deer-breeding operations.
Hawkins says also a list of he operations which received the deer from Pennsylvania and which remains under quarantine is being compiled now and will be made available Monday morning.
A telephone message and an e-mail request seeking comment have been left with World Class Whitetails of Ohio but have not yet been returned. As of late Friday (October 24) the operation's web site has not posted any comments regarding the CWD discovery in one of the ranch's harvested bucks.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.