When I checked in my deer last fall during the first shotgun season, I had a chat with one of the biologist for my area processing the samples. According to him, deer are culled based on CWD occurances in the area and it is more than a 1 year project to remove signs of it in the area. It takes years for the signs to show up in deer, which is why it makes it harder to remediate immediately. However, he claims they do not just “shoot them and throw them in a hole/burn” like most claim they’ve seen. He claimed they [field biologist] are a part of the whole culling process. Sometimes he is sharp shooting from a blind over bait and other times he is assigned to other tasks.
What it involves is a bunch of biologists in the area (usually hours from each other) coordinating carcass pick-ups and driving to a facility in Springfield where tests are done on each deer and they are processed. If testing comes back negative for CWD or any other disease, then the meat is donated to the Northern Illinois Food Pantry (at least in my region anyway, it could be different elsewhere).
He also explained how it spread and that they wouldn’t have to cull nearly as many deer in a specific area if more people were willing to let their deer be tested at check stations. He also emphasized that they do not shoot from helicopters (no matter what people claim). You tend to see the helicopters more often during periods of snow on the ground, as it is easier to count populations. He gave me some information on where you can take your deer heads for drop off during archery, late winter, etc for CWD testing (which I think they should do a better job communicating that to us hunters). They only do firearm season due to budget reasons—as that is when they have the best chance to get samples from a the larger number of hunters who go out in this time frame.
Now ya’ll can believe what you want, but I don’t feel he was lying to me. It could very well be possible that his employer, the state, could be lying to him about intentions. I’d imagine this a two-fold operation and I still firmly believe the insurance companies do a lot of lobbying. If anything, I at least felt better the meat was going to feed the hungry than thrown in a hole. I suggest talking to the biologist in your area. Mine was more than friendly and answered every question I had.