[Reprinted from original]
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association are hosting a free trapper training camp at Buffalo Ridge Refuge in Humphreys County the weekend of February 25-27.
The training camp will feature instructions to include live trapline, fur handling, set making, snaring, and trap modification. The 3-day event is for all ages.
Registration is limited and must be made on online at gooutdoorstennessee.com. The direct link to the trapping workshop registration is license.gooutdoorste....
Check-in for each of the training camps will begin with registration on Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Classroom instruction will be 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday, activities will start with breakfast at 7 a.m. Instruction will be held throughout the day.
Three meals will be provided on Saturday and breakfast will be provided Sunday. On-site primitive camping is available, and participants must provide their own camping gear, have appropriate clothing, and bring note taking materials. Hotels are located near the refuge.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tennessee Department of Agriculture want to make Tennesseans aware of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2). In late January, RHDV2 was detected in two domestic rabbits in East Tennessee.
Although RHDV2 has not been found in Tennessee’s wild rabbit populations, the virus is of major concern as it is highly contagious and lethal to wild and domestic rabbits. In Tennessee, eastern cottontails, Appalachian cottontails, and swamp rabbits are susceptible to RHDV2. Currently, RHDV2 only infects rabbit species and has not been documented to affect humans or any other animal species.
The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with infected rabbits or carcasses, meat or their fur, feces, bodily fluids, contaminated bedding materials, or other materials that have been contaminated.
People can inadvertently spread the virus into new areas by moving infected live rabbits, carcasses or parts from infected animals, as well as on clothing and shoes. The virus can persist in the environment for an extended time, which makes it difficult to control the disease once it affects wild rabbit populations.
People are asked to report rabbits that appear to be bleeding or sightings of multiple dead rabbits to a TWRA regional office. Visit tnwildlife.org for office information. Do not handle dead rabbits. Rabbits carry other diseases that can make people sick.
The USDA website has the most current map of outbreaks of RHDV2 at aphis.usda.gov/aphis.... If persons travel to states that are currently experiencing die-offs and take part in outdoor activities, make sure to clean clothing and disinfect shoes before returning to Tennessee.
The following preventative measures are recommended for hunters and rabbit owners to limit exposure and spread of RHDV2:
Hunters & Falconers
•Avoid harvesting rabbits that appear sick.
•When processing rabbit wear disposable gloves.
•Disinfect equipment and wash hands.
•Prepare meat to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
•Bury rabbit remains to discourage scavenging.
•Keep rabbits indoors or keep rabbit enclosures raised and off the ground.
•Wash hands, clothes, and shoes before and after contact with domestic rabbits.
•Do not handle dead or wild rabbits.
•Quarantine new domestic rabbits for at least 30 days from other animals.
•Notify the State Veterinarian’s office if you experience sudden deaths or high mortality in your rabbitry at (615) 837-5120 or email@example.com.
A vaccine for RHDV2 to be used in domestic rabbits is now available in over 40 states, including Tennessee. The vaccine was produced by Medgene Labs and was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics in October of 2021. The vaccine has been effective in preventing severe and fatal disease from RHDV2 infection in domestic rabbits but is meant as a supplement to the above preventative measures. Please contact your local veterinarian. Veterinarians in Tennessee may contact Medgene labs, which will then distribute vaccines to licensed veterinarians with approval from the State Veterinarian.