State Prepares to Test Deer for Bovine Tuberculosis

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Protocols Are Being Put Into Place to Protect Both Wildlife and Cattle

Deer will be tested for TB in southeastern Indiana. (Tom Reichner/Shutterstock photo)

The Outdoor Wire recently reported that biologists with the Indiana DNR are preparing to test deer for bovine tuberculosis (TB) this fall. According to the report, TB was detected this past April in a cattle herd in Franklin County, Indiana. Because of that, biologists plan to monitor deer harvested in southeastern Indiana.

They plan to monitor the disease — even with the low prevalence rate — by testing harvested 2-year-old bucks and older.

"While any age and sex of white-tailed deer can become infected with bovine tuberculosis, surveillance from other states has demonstrated that sampling bucks older than 2 years of age is more likely to detect the disease," commented Joe Caudell (DNR state deer biologist) to The Outdoor Wire.

Those who hunt in Franklin County and south of State Road 44 in Fayette County will be effected by and included in the testing. However, The Outdoor Wire reported that biologists tested more than 1,400 between 2008 and 2015 and all tested negative for the disease.

Samples will be taken from the head and neck. For those who process deer in the field, do not discard these parts of the deer until your harvest has been tested. According to The Outdoor Wire, those who wish to have their deer mounted can make arrangements for samples to be taken at those locations.

But it isn’t all bad. For those who wish to fill another buck tag, they can potentially get one by cooperating with DNR officials.

“Hunters who harvest a buck that is 2 years old or older from the TB sampling area and allow a sample to be collected (either by DNR staff, taxidermist, or at a processor) will qualify for an additional free buck tag that can be used to harvest a second buck that is at least 2 years old from the bovine tuberculosis surveillance area,” reported The Outdoor Wire. “A buck older than 2 years old can typically be estimated in the field by the spread of the antlers and the number of antler points. The age will be confirmed by tooth wear replacement by a biologist.”

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