IL Deer Hunters Ready for Firearm Season

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Illinois' firearm season runs Friday through Sunday and then resumes Dec. 2-5.

Joe Bauer of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says officials will be at hunting check stations in 31 counties to collect tissue samples that will be tested for Chronic Wasting disease.

Chronic Wasting is a fatal neurological sickness that causes infected animals to become emaciated and die. It isn't known to be contagious to humans.

Bauer says the only cases of chronic wasting in Illinois have been found in the northern part of the state. Illinois has had 65 cases of the disease since the first infected deer was found in 2002 near the Wisconsin border. Extended Web Coverage

Chronic Wasting Disease

  • To date, chronic wasting disease has been found only in members of the deer family in North America. Animals include: Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer.

  • There is ongoing research to explore the possibility of transmission of chronic wasting disease to other species.

Clinical Signs

  • Most cases of chronic wasting disease occur in adult animals.

  • The disease is progressive and always fatal.

  • The most obvious and consistent clinical sign of chronic wasting disease is weight loss over time.

  • Behavioral changes also occur in the majority of cases, including decreased interactions with other animals.

What Causes chronic wasting disease?

  • The agent responsible for chronic wasting disease has not been completely characterized.

  • There are three main theories on the nature of the agent that causes chronic wasting disease:
    • The agent is a prion, an abnormal form of a normal protein, known as cellular prion protein, most commonly found in the central nervous system.

    • The agent is an unconventional virus.

    • The agent is a virino, or "incomplete" virus composed of nucleic acid protected by host proteins. The chronic wasting disease agent is smaller than most viral particles and does not evoke any detectable immune response or inflammatory reaction in the host animal.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed to this report.