The Border Deer Study (BDS) is a multi-year project with the goal of linking scientific knowledge with wildlife management, particularly in the realm of chronic wasting disease (CWD). This study will help identify the potential epidemiological risk of CWD entering and spreading into Alberta along portions of the Saskatchewan border. The immediate focus of this research is on deer herds in wildlife management unit (WMU) 234 where we believe the disease is present in local deer that move seasonally from summer ranges in Saskatchewan to winter concentrations in Alberta. Research in this area will complement a similar study underway in the Saskatchewan Landing area of Saskatchewan.
The short-term objectives of the BDS are to define white-tailed (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule (O. hemionus) deer population units at risk, quantify their seasonal movement patterns, and examine potential exchange rates among populations. Long-term objectives include modeling potential disease spread and evaluating alternative population management actions that will prevent or reduce the rate of spread of CWD in or into Alberta.