How Hunting Preserves Work

Hunting Preserves and Animal Disease

­Survival of the fittest is nature's way of weeding out the weak from the strong, but what happe­ns when otherwise healthy animals come in contact with weak or diseased animals? It happens during migration, and this shifting of populations prevents inbreeding, but it can also contribute to the spread of disease among new populations [source: Montana Conservation Science Institute]. In this section, we'll look at hunting preserves and disease among game.

Chronic Wasting Disease, which is a fatal wasting syndrome found in deer and elk, affects infected animals with tremors and weight loss and is known as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, or TSE [source: Belay]. It's also similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease [source: McCombie]. The disease is extremely contagious within captive elk or deer, and while it has been found in captive herds since the '60s and in the wild since the '80s, several states including Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska have had CWD in endemic proportions [source: Belay] .

As for birds, which also play a large role in the spread of disease, chief among them West Nile Virus, disease transmission is of increasing concern as wild populations diminish and farm-raised birds increase in number [source: Reed, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences].

No matter how you feel about them, keep in mind that game preserves offer much of the same beauty found in the wild, and in some cases can keep the view from your window as wide open as it was before contractors moved in across the street.

Related HowS­tuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


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