CWD in Alabama and the Cheapest States for Deer Hunting

Brow Tines and Backstrap

CWD in Alabama and the Cheapest States for Deer Hunting

Posted 2022-04-18T08:56:00Z

9-year-old shoots two deer in under a minute, whitetails and Covid, a 15-year-old doe, and more deer hunting news

Deer hunting news from around the nation. Image by Russell Graves

How Long Do Deer Live?

Researchers in Pennsylvania looked back at their 20 years of data from capturing, collaring, and tracking wild deer, and found that if a buck survives to his first birthday, on average he will live another one to two years. If a doe survives her first year, she has a good shot of living another three to four years. The oldest buck the scientists observed lived almost nine years; a doe survived for 15 years!

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Don't Kill 'Em All!

On Jan. 7, 2022, the first-ever case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Alabama was confirmed in a deer shot in Lauderdale County. Immediately, wildlife officials designated all of Lauderdale and neighboring Colbert County as the state's first CWD Management Zone (CMZ).

With only 30 days left in the 2021-22 hunting season, and with the need to acquire as many blood and tissue samples from deer as possible to determine the prevalence of CWD, officials removed all daily and seasonal bag limits in the CMZ.

Most hunters in the area were happy to follow the science, but a vocal minority was outraged.

We took quite a bit of criticism when we removed the season and daily bag limits, said Chuck Sykes, Alabama's director of wildlife. We were going to 'kill them all' … 'destroy deer hunting' … 'starve people because we were going to kill all the deer.'

Alabama's postseason harvest data revealed that hunters killed 1,707 deer in the CMZ from Jan. 7 through Feb. 10, 2022, a moderate increase of 226 animals compared with the same area during the same time the previous season.

We did not destroy the deer herd, Sykes said. We did not kill them all. There will be plenty next year. If you look at the totals, for the entire season, the harvest in the CMZ is down. So, everything is still fine.

A total of 966 CWD samples were tested from the deer harvested within the CMZ. A lab confirmed only one more positive case of CWD from a deer killed in west-central Lauderdale County.

Two Deer in One Minute

On youth day in Maine last October, 9-year-old Cameron Albert and his father, Chris, along with granddad Gary Avery, climbed into a tower stand. Soon a spike and three does slipped out into the field they watched. Cameron zeroed his scope on the buck and dropped it. The does scattered, then settled down. Cameron, who had an antlerless permit in his pocket, didn't think twice. His second shot was true, and the biggest doe of the bunch went down.

Two deer and a heap of fresh meat in less than a minute! Great memories made with three generations, said Chris Albert.

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Can a Deer Give You COVID?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, surveys from five states have showed that whitetail deer have COVID infection rates of up to 40%. Should we be concerned?

Given the broad practice of deer hunting in the U.S., knowing the sites of virus replication is important to minimize the risks of exposure and transmission from these wild animals that could potentially transmit the virus back to humans, said Dr. Diego Diel, associate professor at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine.

While there have been several instances of COVID being transmitted from humans to deer, so far there is no evidence that hunters have caught the virus from deer. Something to keep an eye on, but no need to panic.

What's It Cost to Shoot a Doe?

With 8% inflation and all this talk of looming food shortages, more people than ever will grab a gun and hunt for meat this autumn. What's it cost to hunt a whitetail doe?

Analysis from the National Deer Association shows the cheapest states for resident antlerless licenses are South Carolina ($5), Pennsylvania ($6.97), and Missouri ($7). You'll have to dig deeper for an in-state doe tag in Vermont ($51 and the most expensive in the nation), Virginia ($46), and Mississippi ($45).

Prices for nonresident antlerless licenses are all over the place, from a very reasonable $10 in South Carolina and New York, to an eye-popping $329.70 in Alabama (the priciest in the nation). You'll pay $300 for an out-of-state antlerless tag in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Across North America, the cost of resident antlerless whitetail licenses is, on average, less than $50 ($200 for nonresident tags).

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