What’s wrong with this deer? September 30, 2020 Alabama

Alabama Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

What’s wrong with this deer? September 30, 2020 Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Daily Digest Bulletin

The white-tailed deer is Alabama’s most visible large wildlife species. Deer are observed in rural, suburban, and even urban settings throughout the year. Many times, these deer seem sick, injured, or may have died from no apparent cause. Hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts also take countless photos of wildlife, which include images of seemingly sick or injured deer. Because deer are so visible, ADWFF receives many reports of sick, injured, or dead deer, especially during the late summer, fall, and winter months. Most of the sick or injured deer that prompt the calls and e-mails have not suffered serious, long-lasting harm, but are only exhibiting the results of a brief illness, injury, or even just normal events that alter their appearance. Deer warts, mange, broken legs, or just weight loss associated with raising fawns can appear to be life threatening when, in reality, the condition is not life threatening to the individual deer or the deer population. These can usually be diagnosed, especially if a photo is available. Reports of deer showing possible symptoms of more serious deer diseases or deer that have died from no obvious cause usually prompt further investigation by ADWFF.

In order to make reporting of these deer simpler for the public, ADWFF established an online system for reporting sick or dead deer on our website. The primary purpose for the online system is to help ADWFF with chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of members of the deer family, including white-tailed deer. ADWFF conducts surveillance for CWD throughout the year and fortunately CWD has not been detected in Alabama so far. Deer with CWD often have symptoms similar to many other possible injuries and illnesses deer may develop. The only way to confirm or rule out CWD as the cause of the illness or death is to collect tissue samples and submit them to a lab for testing. The tissues used for CWD testing do not hold up well during warmer weather so having the online system for reporting possible CWD suspects is important. Information is submitted in a timely manner and, as a result, enables ADWFF personnel to collect the samples needed for testing.

Learn more about the online system for reporting sick or dead deer, as well as CWD and other diseases of white-tailed deer, on our Outdoor Alabama website.

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