Kentucky is participating in a three-state effort to test white-tailed deer for the presence of bovine tuberculosis.
While bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that primarily affects cattle, it also can infect deer. The disease has not been detected in Kentucky’s deer herd.
Wildlife officials in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio recently launched a joint monitoring effort for the disease 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.
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.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Veterinarian Iga Stasiak said the state agencies intend to stop the disease from spreading further. “These efforts will help us determine whether or not bovine tuberculosis is present in our deer,” she said. “Participation in this 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 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 check stations will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (Eastern) Nov 12-13, and during the same hours Nov 19-20. Locations include:
Hunters outside of these areas can assist with the monitoring project 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 by calling 1-800-858-1549.
For more information, visit the bovine tuberculosis surveillance online site at http://fw.ky.gov/Wildlife/Pages/Bovine-Tuberculosis.aspx.