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Deer mating season brings with it several concerns in Kentucky


Deer mating season is in full swing, which raises concerns of chronic wasting disease entering Kentucky. This fatal disease is currently known to affect members of the cervid family. Officials said symptoms may take more than a year before showing up in an infected animal. Common symptoms to look out for include weight loss, stumbling, and other neurologic symptoms.

Joe McDermott is the Deer Program Coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. He said 49,000 deer and 1,000 elk have been tested since 2002, and the disease has not yet been detected in the Commonwealth.

“Unfortunately, six of the seven bordering states do have it, and we’ve actually got it within eight miles of our border within two separate places,” said McDermott.

There are systems put in place so if CWD does enter Kentucky, a few rules will take effect. McDermott said a CWD management zone will be established based on the counties afflicted and a ban will be put into place on carcass transportation.

Another concern this mating season is deer-related car crashes. According to AAA, the average claim for an animal strike in 2022 was $6,000 in Kentucky, a 50% increase in just 5 years.

McDermott said deer are most active in the early morning and late evening hours, so that’s when motorists should be the most cautious.

“Think of it like they’ve got blinders on like horses do when they’re racing. They’re focused on exactly one thing, if it’s a buck he’s focused on chasing that doe, if it’s a doe she’s running from him. They are not paying attention to anything else that’s going on around them. That’s why they’re super susceptible to vehicle collisions,” said McDermott.

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife have many deer sample collection stations throughout the state. Hunters can submit the heads of legally harvested deer to be tested for CWD. Information on where the testing sites are located can be found fw.ky.gov