PAGE 19 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2018-2019 • WILDLIFE • Omashkooz for the Holidays Bay Mills Indian Community hunters held onto their elk tags as warm weather lingered during the three early-season time periods from lateAugust to early October. Hunters from Bay Mills were allotted a total of four omashkoozoog tags for the 2018-19 season, valid in Michigan’s primary elk range in the Lower Peninsula. The harvest authorizations include three cow elk and one bull. When the late elk season opens December 24, tribal hunting activity is expected to take off in the 1836 Treaty Ceded Territory, said Justin Car- rick, Bay Mills Conservation Office. The Michigan elk herd is centered in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, numbering around 1,000 animals. Annual harvests are split between state hunters and members of five treaty tribes in Michigan. —CO Rasmussen Elk hunt (continued from page 2) (continued from page 1) (continued from page 18) Waabooz and climate threats (see Waabooz, page 20) precautions, are necessary to safeguard wildlife and human health. Tribal CWD Management Area boundaries are recommended on a case-by-case basis by the Intertribal CWD working group and approved by the Voigt Intertribal Task Force. The recently approved Tribal CWD Management Area is defined as the area encompassed by tribal wildlife management units 37, 42, 52, and portions of 38 within Oneida County in Wisconsin. Tribal members planning on harvesting deer within the Tribal CWD Man- agement Area are encouraged to review the Intertribal CWD Working Group’s recommendations, which can be found at the GLIFWC CWD webpage: data. under the “Tribal CWD ManagementAreas” tab. The website also contains an interactive map that includes the boundary of the recently approved CWD Management Area. Wisconsin passes portion of emergency rule, withdraws carcass transport restrictions The Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules recently voted to suspend portions of an emergency rule that was designed to restrict the transport of deer carcasses in Wisconsin’s CWD-affected counties. The carcass transport rule was supposed to go into effect as of October 1st. The Wis- consin Department of Natural Resources notes that it is still illegal for state hunt- ers to transport whole wild deer carcasses and certain parts of deer carcasses from CWD-affected coun- tiestoareasoutsideof CWD-affected coun- ties. The exception is ifthedeercarcassesor partsofdeercarcasses are being transported to an adjacent county, to a licensed taxider- mist, or a licensed meatprocessorwithin 72 hours of the deer being harvested. The Joint Com- mitteeupheldanother portion of the emer- gency rule, which requires captive deer farms to add a second fence, an electric fence, or a solid perimeter fence for farms that have not tested positive for CWD within one year. Any farm that has tested positive for CWD would also be required to install a second fence or a solid barrier within a year. This emergency rule comes after five additional deer farms tested positive for CWD in 2018. Chronic wasting disease is a fatal, contagious, neuro- degenerative disease caused by a mutated protein known as a prion. Prion diseases such as CWD in deer and scrapie in sheep are known as transmissible spongiform encephalopa- thies (TSEs). These diseases can spread from one individual to another and cause damage to the brain and other neuro- logical tissue. ThefirstcaseofawildCWD-positivedeerinWisconsin was found in 2002. CWD has spread across a large portion of North America over the past several decades. Although there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans,theWorldHealthOrganizationrecommendsagainst the consumption of any animal that could be infected with a prion disease. CWD state updates Minnesota—One wild deer has tested positive, and another is suspected of being positive for CWD in the south- easternportionofthestate,welloutsideoftheCededTerritory. Michigan—The state set a goal of testing 15,635 deer in 2018. As of mid-October, over 4,000 deer had been tested and nine deer tested positive for CWD in the state. This included the first deer to test positive for CWD in the upper peninsula, just outside of the 1842 Ceded Territory. The four year-olddoewasharvestedinDickinsonCounty,taggedwith a deer damage shooting permit. The Department of Natural Resources is responding by providing additional opportuni- ties for hunters to submit deer heads for testing and offering disease control permits to interested landowners, among other actions. Wisconsin—State and tribal officials are continuing CWD surveillance efforts throughout the state. As of mid- October, over 1,400 samples had been submitted, with over 1,100 analyzed, and 57 deer testing positive for CWD. All of the deer that had tested positive by mid-October 2018 had been from the southern portion of the state and outside of the Ceded Territory. Tribal members also shared information about waabooz habits. Waabooz tends to eat any vegetation and its population normally goes in two- to three-year cycles. It used to be a major source of food and was also used for furs, traditional crafts, and general livelihood. Most tribal members used to look for waaboozoog but could not hunt them until it got cold enough—if they were harvested too soon, the waaboozoog would often have blisters on and underneath their skin, making them unfit for consumption. Recently, it is rare for waabooz to be sought after as a source for food. One individual recalled walking from his house on Lake Superior in Red Cliff, Wisconsin, to Oak Island on the ice in order to snare waaboozoog: “It was tough going over in the winter time, got over there and had no shack over there. They had a halfway decent stove, one of those air tights, and you had to keep adding wood like you would never believe. Waaboozoog, we snared like ten waaboozoog the first night. The fishermen used to go by there. They would come in and trade waaboozoog for fish, which we did… We had to walk out there, then they would give us a ride home… I haven’t seen a waabooz in 15 years and I shot hundreds and hundreds of them. I used to sell waaboozoog to go to the show and if you shot them you’d get 50 cents for them and if you snared them you’d get a dollar. My aunt used to ask what is the difference. When you shoot them you lose all the blood. If you snare them, we add that blood to the soup.” Summary of climate threats: Waabooz was in the 94th percentile relative to other mammals in the vulnerability assessment. Relative to other beings/species in the vulnerability assessment, waabooz was in the 95th percentile. Waabooz is among the most vulnerable beings/species in our assessment. Its population is strongly linked to the duration of snow cover, which is likely to continue to decline, especially at the very southern end of its range. Many other factors contribute to waabooz’s vulnerability, including natural and anthropogenic barriers, sensitivity to increasing temperatures, increased predation risk, and phenological mismatches. This being/species is the subject of much ongoing research, including models projecting waabooz’s future range (Figure 10). Factors that increase waabooz’s vulnerability to climate change: SI SI/I Natural barriers: Edge habitat in fragmented landscapes is a barrier to waabooz. Any increases in unsuitable non-forested habitats would likely increase mortality. Anthropogenic barriers: Agriculture, roads and other urban development can all be barriers to waabooz. Physiological thermal niche: Waabooz is a winter-adapted being/species restricted to cold environments that will continue warming, particularly in the winter. Models have linked local waabooz extinction in Michigan to an increase in maximum summer/fall temperature. Historical hydrological niche: The area waabooz occupies has experienced slightly lower than average variation in precipitation in the past 50 years. I/GI SI CWD management “Twoofthebullsended up spotting us and took off across a road,” Hmielewski said. “The third one, a 5X6, came in and we got him.” Health check Someelk,includingthe Bad River bull, were loaded ontoatrailerandhauledback to camp. Other animals har- vested deeper in the woods were cut-up into quarters and carried out. In all cases, tribalmembersworkedwith GLIFWCwildlifebiologists to collect blood and tissue for health testing. “Hunters were really enthusiastic and engaged with the sampling process,” GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Travis Bartnick said. “Since collecting some of the samples was time-sensitive, their help was critical.” Ojibwe hunters carried a sampling kit afield that included storage tubes and a syringe for blood draws, plus collection bags for organ segments, including liver and lung samples. Biologists removed lymph nodes from the neck and the brain stem, or obex, to test for chronic wasting disease. Early test results for the first three bulls indicate the animals are in good condition, Bartnick said. After a Lac du Flambeau member harvested a fifth and final bull elk October 18, GLIFWC biologists packaged the last of the samples in ice, transferring the material to the DNR for shipment off to the University of Wisconsin diagnostics laboratory in Madison. UWveterinarians analyze samples for a variety of ailments like bovine tuberculosis and the bluetongue virus. Meanwhile, tribal members are making plans for community feasts to recognize the return of revered native animal, omashkooz. GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Travis Bartnick collects a lymph node from an elk for testing. (COR photo) Giiyosewinini (hunter). (COR photo)