New Carcass Regulations
As a precautionary measure against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease, the Colorado Wildlife Commission has implemented new carcass regulations that limit the parts of deer and elk that may be transported from the endemic area in northeast Colorado. The regulations also limit what can be brought into Colorado from infected areas in other states or countries.
"While there is no documentation of transmission of chronic wasting disease through carcasses, the Wildlife Commission believes caution is the appropriate response for protecting native big game populations," said Kathi Green, regulations manager at the Colorado Division of Wildlife. "The Wildlife Commission's policy is to prevent spread of the disease outside of the areas where animals have tested positive."
The new regulations do allow transportation of whole carcasses among any of the listed units as long as they do not leave the area defined by these units. Additionally, the new regulations allow a hunter to take antlers with or without the skull plate, but if they do take them with the skull plate, it must be clean, with no meat or tissue attached.
Other carcass parts that can be transported include:
- Meat that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
- Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
- Meat that has been boned out
- Hides with no heads attached
- Upper canine teeth, also known as "buglers", "whistlers" or "ivories"
- Finished taxidermied heads
The affected areas are game management units 7, 8, 9, 19, 20, 29, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 191 and 951.
Health officials have found no link between chronic wasting disease and any neurological disease that affects humans. Health officials, however, advise hunters not to consume meat from animals infected with the disease. In addition, they suggest hunters take simple precautions when field dressing deer or elk taken in areas where the disease is found. They advise that hunters:
- Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that appears sick and contact the Division of Wildlife in Fort Collins at (970) 472-4300 if you see or harvest an animal that appears sick
- Wear rubber gloves when field dressing carcasses
- Bone out the meat from your animal
- Minimize the handling of the brain and spinal tissues
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed
- Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals (Normal field dressing with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.)
- Avoid consuming meat from any animal that tests positive for the disease
- Request that animals are processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from their animal
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease of deer and elk that has been endemic in portions of northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming for more than two decades. Division surveillance over the past six years has found that, on average, about 5 percent of deer and less than 1 percent of elk test positive for CWD in the endemic area. The source is unknown.