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Mule deer in southwest N.D. tests positive for chronic wasting disease

BISMARCK -- A mule deer taken from a southwest North Dakota hunting unit during the deer gun season has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced Monday.

Dr. Dan Grove, a wildlife veterinarian in the Game and Fish Department, said a hunter shot the adult buck in western Grant County and submitted the head for testing as part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program.

The unit, 3F2, encompasses Sioux County, southern Grant County, southeast Hettinger County, eastern Adams County and the southern tip of Morton County.

According to Grove, the hunter said the animal looked healthy and had no visible signs of having any health issues.

This is the fourth deer, and first buck, to test positive for CWD since 2009, and all were from taken from within the same general area of unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota.

Chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.