Help Protect Deer and Elk

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You can play an important role in maintaining the health of Arizona’s deer and elk: bring the head of your recently harvested deer or elk to any Arizona Game and Fish Department office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The department needs 1,800 heads to be tested for the possible presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk. CWD has not made its way into Arizona, but it is found in three neighboring states: Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

Arizona Game and Fish Department authorities are concerned that CWD might be introduced in Arizona and has taken steps to minimize the possibility. Early detection is important for launching efforts to prevent the spread of CWD.

The department has been conducting surveillance of deer and elk for the possible presence of CWD since 1998, mostly by enlisting the keen eyes of hunters. That process is ongoing. Please call Game and Fish at (800) 352-0700 if you see deer or elk looking sickly, low in weight, with a stumbling gait, drooping ears, rough hair, visible salvation, excessive drinking and loss of fear of humans.

In addition to surveillance, the Game and Fish Commission has restricted the importation and movement of all live members of the elk and deer family into and within Arizona.

According to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence that CWD affects humans. However, it is always fatal for deer and elk once they contract the disease.

The department recommends hunters take the following steps:

- Do not harvest any animal that appears to be sick, is very thin or behaves oddly (but please report such animals).

- If you hunt in another state, don’t bring back the brain, intact skull or spinal column. It’s OK to bring back hides and skull plates that have been cleaned of all tissue and washed in bleach.

- If you intend to hunt out of state, contact the wildlife agency in the area you intend to hunt. Several states have regulations on carcass movement.

- Taxidermied heads, sawed-off antlers and ivory teeth are OK to bring home.

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