Future deer population could be in jeopardy in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) According to a wildlife research biologist, the deer population could be in jeopardy years from now because of a spreading disease.

Biologist Matt Peek said Chronic Wasting Disease isn't new, but it's mostly affected deer in the northwest part of Kansas.

"It has gradually spread south and east from there," said Peek.

Game wardens said they found a deer in Northwest Kansas that had lost all fear of humans and was too weak to stand.

They said signs point to it having CWD. That deer was removed, and game wardens took lymph nodes for further testing.

"It is slowly spreading and slowly increasing in prevalence where it does exist," said Peek.

He said the deer population could be in danger long term.

"I'm talking about decades for deer to decrease in population and eventually even become eliminated or extinct in certain areas," said Peek.

Hunter Ryan Pennock worries he could accidentally shoot an infected deer.

"That's what a hunter doesn't want to do," said Pennock. "They don't want to waste a tag on something if they shoot something like that."

Peek said in other states where the problem is more prevalent, fewer tags are given out.