The intent of the new regulation, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, is to harvest and sample mule deer, a species new to Alaska. Questions about disease and parasite transmission prompted the Alaska Board of Game to create an opportunity for hunters to harvest and subsequently sample those animals.
Concern over Disease Transmission
The reason hunters are encouraged to submit harvested mule and white-tailed deer samples to a local ADF&G office is because they can be asymptomatic carriers of the following pathogens:
- Moose Winter Tick
- Brain Worm, also known as "Moose Sickness"
- Chronic Wasting Disease
- Adenoviral Hemorrhagic Disease
- Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, and Bluetongue
- Large stomach worm, giant liver fluke, demodectic mange, ear mites and others.
Mule and white-tailed deer are not the only potential carriers of these pathogens. Other ungulates native to Alaska, including moose, can be carriers of some of these pathogens, as well.