Elk NetworkCWD Continues to Spread, Claims Florida

General | June 16, 2023

Just a few days after Oklahoma announced its first positive chronic wasting disease case, Florida followed suit. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)  confirmed a road-killed 4.5-year-old female white-tailed deer in Holmes County sampled during routine surveillance activities tested positive for CWD, the first known case of CWD in Florida.

FWC and its agency partners implemented a comprehensive response plan. As part of that, FWC will collect samples from specific established zones to further assess the spread of the disease. The results from this initial sampling effort will inform resource managers so they can react with appropriate management strategies.

FWC monitored free-ranging deer since 2002 to detect CWD. During that time, the FWC tested approximately 17,500 hunter-killed, road-killed and sick or diseased deer for CWD. In FY 2020-2021 in addition to funds generated by hunting permits, $266,000 was appropriated by the Florida Legislature to prepare the state’s comprehensive response to prevent the spread of CWD.

“With the continued support of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature and hunters across the state, we have taken significant steps to prevent the spread of CWD,” said FWC Executive Director Roger Young. “Working with FDACS and our other partners, I’m hopeful that our combined efforts will limit the effects this will have on Florida’s deer population and preserve our exceptional hunting opportunities for future generations statewide.”

In response to the situation, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced it is prepared and will work diligently to implement its CWD response protocol if the disease is ever detected in Georgia, where it conducted annual surveillance for CWD since 2002.

(Photo credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)