Wichita — The state's wild deer population remains free from chronic wasting disease, a condition that's affecting elk and causes loss of appetite, disorientation and eventually death.
Deer in Harper County were sampled for chronic wasting disease in January, a month after a captive elk there tested positive for the ailment. The case near Anthony marked the disease's first appearance in Kansas.
Lloyd Fox of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks said he had learned Tuesday that deer in the south-central Kansas county did not have the disease.
Random tests of deer killed during the hunting season also spotted no cases of the disease, said Livestock Commissioner George Teagarden.
The state has been monitoring deer in its northwest region for several years because that's where wildlife experts first expect to see the disease. It already has spread from northeastern Colorado and southwestern Wyoming to wild herds in Nebraska and was recently confirmed in Wisconsin and New Mexico as well.
The test results were good news for hunters and the owners of businesses that support the state's rapidly growing white tail deer hunting industry.
Deer hunting generates direct retail sales of $140 million annually in Kansas and creates the equivalent of 2,900 full-time jobs, said Bob Mathews of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.