North Carolina Reminds Hunters of Deer/CWD Rules

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In an ongoing and continued effort to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from infecting North Carolina's resident deer population, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding hunters to use extreme caution in importing out-of-state harvests.

Currently, there is no reported incidence of CWD in North Carolina. The Commission needs hunter cooperation to help prevent this dangerous disease from infiltrating the state's deer population.

"This is a devastating, always fatal disease, and this warning is another precaution the Commission has taken to minimize the chances of CWD entering the state and becoming established in North Carolina," said Evin Stanford, the Commission's deer biologist.

According to state law enacted in early 2006, it is illegal to import the carcass or carcass parts of a cervid – meaning any member of the deer family, such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk or moose - from any state or province where CWD occurs unless specific precautions are taken.

The purpose of this law is to prevent potentially dangerous, infective tissues, such as the brain, spinal chord and nervous system tissues, from entering the Tar Heel state. Legal implications most often arise when a hunter brings an out-of-state carcass to a North Carolina processing facility for butchering or tries to deliver an out-of-state cervid to a North Carolina taxidermist.

However, there are safe, legal methods for hunters to import a harvest, even when taken from a location with documented cases of CWD.

A carcass or carcass part may be transported if it is:

  • * Cut and wrapped
  • * Meat that has been boned out
  • * Caped hides
  • * Cleaned skull plates
  • * In quarters or portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  • * Antlers
  • * Cleaned teeth
  • * A finished taxidermy product

Additional restrictions that apply to cervid carcasses, carcass parts or processed meat packages entering the state of North Carolina include labeling with the following:

  • * Hunter's name and address
  • * State or province of origin
  • * Date of harvest and the hunter's hunting license number from the state of origin
  • * Destination of the package

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is constantly watchful for animals that fit the clinical profile for CWD. Individuals observing animals displaying CWD symptoms should contact the Commission so that agency biologists can determine if it is necessary to test the animal for CWD. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • * Extreme weight loss
  • * Excessive salivation, drooling, drinking or urination
  • * Listlessness
  • * Lowering of the head
  • * Blank facial expressions
  • * Repetitive walking in set patterns
  • * Lack of coordination or other displays of neurological disease

Although CWD is 100 percent fatal in cervids, there is no evidence to suggest that humans are susceptible to infection. However, experts do not recommend consuming meat from animals afflicted with the disease.

For a current list and map of states or provinces with documented cases of the disease visit the Web site of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at www.cwd-info.org. West Virginia is currently the nearest state to North Carolina with documented instances of CWD.

As of September 2007, the following states had documented cases of CWD: New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Chronic Wasting Disease has also been found in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

For more information about the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, or Chronic Wasting Disease, visit www.ncwildlife.org.