Q&A: Are salt licks a potential cause of the spread of CWD among deer?

by Editorial Staff | March 7, 2014

spread CWD - a group of deer in the spring.

One of our twitter followers, Myles McLaughlin @YTaekwondo, asked us this:

Some local hunting guides are promoting salt licks for deer. Is this a potential cause of the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white tails?

Mark Ryckman, senior wildlife biologist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, answers:

Ongoing surveillance efforts have not found CWD in Ontario’s wild cervid populations. Therefore, the actual risk of spreading CWD through the use of salt licks is essentially zero in Ontario. However, in areas where CWD is endemic (for example, many U.S. states), salt licks could potentially create an unnatural congregation of deer using the same food source and therefore could spread CWD through those animals.

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