CWD regulations in Maryland

Due to the regular amending of regulations in Maryland, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Maryland can be seen below:

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FOR NATIONAL REGULATIONS GO HERE

Testing Laboratories in Maryland

Sorry, our records do not show any CWD testing laboratories in your state, if you find this to be in error, please contact us.

Locations Where CWD Was Found

Counties (Accurate as of 2/2016)

Allegany County

Most Recent CWD News

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  • Deer in the forest The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has received laboratory confirmation that five white-tailed deer harvested in Allegany County tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease in deer, bringing the total overall cases to 11. Four of the five deer were harvested in the

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  • Two deer in a forest the Maryland Department of Natural Resources received laboratory confirmation on January 16, 2015 that four additional white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), bringing the total number of overall positive cases to six. The deer,

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  • Annapolis, Md. — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces new regulations to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). These regulations, effective immediately, apply only to a small portion of Allegany County, and ban the use of bait and limit the movement

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  • The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received laboratory confirmation on February 10, 2011 that a white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland. A hunter in Allegany County reported taking

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  • Recent laboratory tests conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service confirm there is no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Maryland. Tissue samples collected from 1,106 deer during the 2009-2010 Maryland deer hunting seasons revealed no signs of the

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  • Deer population Disease-Free for Six Consecutive Years

    ANNAPOLIS — Samples collected from more than 900 deer during the 2007-2008 Maryland deer hunting season showed no signs of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Recent laboratory test results confirmed no evidence of the disease in brain and lymph nodes

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Category Archives: Maryland

Chronic Wasting Disease Not Found In Maryland Deer

ANNAPOLIS ― Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service biologists announced today that there was no sign of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer and sika deer harvested in the 2004-2005 muzzleloader and firearms deer hunting season.

A total of 872 free-ranging deer (861 white-tailed deer and 11 sika deer) were tested out of nearly 75,000 deer harvested during the muzzleloader and firearms hunting seasons as part of the state’s ongoing effort to detect the introduction of the disease into Maryland. The state’s current sampling effort was designed such that if 1 percent of the deer in either population had CWD, there is a 98 percent chance the disease would be detected.

CWD is fatal to deer and elk species. The disease attacks the brain and spinal cord of the animals and is believed to be caused by prions, which are modified proteins. CWD is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy similar to mad cow disease” in cattle and scrapie in sheep. Thousands of deer have been destroyed across the country in an attempt to contain the disease. Currently, there is no live animal test to confirm the presence of this deadly disease. Confirmation is done by euthanizing the deer, then removing and testing the brain stem and retropharnygeal lymph nodes.

DNR biologists collected brain and lymph gland samples during the 2004-05 muzzleloader and firearms deer hunting seasons across all Maryland counties. A number of partner agencies in federal and local governments assisted with the collection of samples.

The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) laboratory, an internationally known wildlife disease research lab at the University of Georgia in Athens, conducted the testing of the samples.

CWD has been confirmed in free-ranging cervids within the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Utah, Illinois and most recently, in New York. It has also been found in captive cervids in the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Minnesota and most recently in New York. CWD is also confirmed in captive cervids in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and in free-ranging cervids in Saskatchewan.

Maryland has tested hunter-harvested deer for chronic wasting disease since 2002 Additionally, Maryland has passed new regulations prohibiting the transportation and importation of deer across state lines in an effort to prevent CWD from coming to the state.

An additional 800 samples of hunter-harvested deer will be tested from all 23 Maryland counties during the coming 2005-2006 deer seasons. The public is asked to report any deer that appear sick to DNR by calling 410-260-8540. Animals that exhibit CWD type clinical symptoms will also be examined by wildlife veterinarians and tested for CWD. Sick deer will be euthanized by DNR staff prior to taking them to the state labs for testing.

In Maryland, it is illegal to import, export or transport live deer in Maryland except by American Zoological Association-certified zoos. It is also illegal to hold any deer in captivity without a valid permit, none of which have been issued since 1984 because of diseases. Any unlicensed deer that is held in captivity is subject to testing for CWD.

While no human has been infected with CWD, hunters and others who handle deer and elk should remain vigilant in their meat-handling techniques. DNR recommends the following common sense tips for handling any harvested deer:

  • Avoid shooting or handling a deer that appears sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field-dressing or butchering deer.
  • Remove all internal organs.
  • Remove the meat from the bones and spinal column.
  • Do not use household knives or utensils.
  • Avoid cutting through bones or the spinal column (backbone).
  • Never eat a deer’s brain, eyeballs, spinal cord, spleen or lymph nodes.
  • If you saw off antlers, cut through a bone, or if you sever the spinal cord with a knife, be sure to disinfect these tools prior to using them for the butchering or removal of meat.
  • Remove all fat, membranes and connective tissue from the meat. Note that normal field dressing and trimming of fat from meat will remove the lymph nodes.
  • Always wash hands and instruments thoroughly after dressing and processing game meat.
  • Use a 50/50 solution of household chlorine bleach and water to disinfect tools and work surfaces. Wipe down counters and let them dry; soak knives and tools for 1 hour.

Additional CWD information is available on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/cwdinformation.html and on The Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance web site www.cwd-info.org.

DNR Refines Policy on Illegally Held Captive Deer

ANNAPOLIS – Responding to a number of recent incidents involving illegally held captive deer, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) thoroughly reviewed its longstanding policy and is issuing this statement to clearly inform Marylanders on the Department’s policy on the matter.

Captive deer pose a significant threat to Maryland’s native wildlife and a potential threat to domestic livestock and people. Because captive deer are often kept in confined areas at high densities, the risk of disease transmission grows exponentially especially from captive deer to free ranging wildlife. Wild animals held in captivity often suffer higher stress brought about by a reduction in immunity from nutritional deficiencies or the stress of captivity.

“The advent of potential disease pathogens spreading across the country by the transport of captive deer demands that we remain more cautious than ever,” said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. “Maryland is fortunate that the latest, and deadliest, ecological threat, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), has not found its way into our State. The goal of our policy is to ensure Maryland never has to suffer the consequences of a catastrophic disease outbreak.”

CWD was first isolated in a captive deer herd and many of the concerns associated with the potential transmission of CWD point to captive deer as a likely catalyst for the next outbreak.

“Thousands of wild deer and elk have been killed in the Midwest and Western states in an attempt to prevent further spread of the ecological fire that was ignited when free-roaming deer species were exposed to CWD in those states,” Franks continued. “The ecological, social and economic losses will take years to recover.”

Maryland’s legislature has granted legal authority for DNR to restrict possession of wildlife, including deer. In addition, because of the ongoing ecological, human health and operational capital concerns, the Department has maintained a highly restrictive policy on captive deer permit requests.

Importation of deer from out-of-state has not been permitted since 1984; and in 2002, DNR passed regulations placing more restrictive conditions (fencing, tagging and testing requirements) on deer licensees due to concerns over the spread of CWD. At that time, CWD had been identified in 12 states and two provinces, and the potential for devastating impacts on wild herds was well recognized. These regulations significantly limit the possession, importation and exportation of deer in Maryland.

Largely due to the more restrictive regulations, the number of deer licensees in the state dropped from 27 in 2002 to 20 in 2004. Even as the number of legally licensed deer herds decrease, the Department has become aware of additional illegally held animals. Although legally held deer still pose a potential threat, our current regulations seek to minimize the collective concerns by maintaining tight control of the movement of deer and reducing the potential for escape. However, illegally held deer heighten these concerns since movement has not been regulated, fencing is often inadequate and no monitoring of the herd has been conducted by any State agency.

To ensure, Marylanders take this threat seriously and take appropriate action, DNR has revised its enforcement policy regarding the disposition of illegally held deer. Owners of illegally held deer will be given up to 90 days to find suitable out-of-state facilities for their deer and DNR will assist will this process. No citations will be issued during the initial “amnesty” period. If the owner has not found a new home for the deer within the timeframe, DNR will seek consent from the owner to allow DNR to humanely euthanize and test the deer for disease. Because of the significant health risks, at no time will the owner be permitted to release captive deer to the wild.

“The best way to prevent these animals from suffering is not obtaining exotic “pets” in the first place. People seeking animal companions should consider adopting a domestic animal instead of fueling the exotic-animal industry,” stated Lisa Wathne, Captive Exotics Specialist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “If true sanctuaries cannot be found, authorities’ only humane option may be euthanizing exotic animals, since allowing them to suffer in substandard facilities is simply unacceptable.”

For more information on DNR’s Captive Deer Policy please visit www.dnr.maryland.gov or call 410-260-8559.


Captive Deer Policy – FAQ

Why is the DNR refining its policy on captive deer? There is an increasing awareness by the Department of illegally held wild animals. Wild animals kept as pets are one of the greatest threats to people and our wild resources. With the advent of new and deadly pathogens for deer, the Department’s response is not only appropriate, but biologically responsible.

Why is it illegal to keep deer as pets? Captive deer pose a significant threat to Maryland’s native wildlife and a potential threat to domestic livestock and people. Because captive deer are often kept in confined areas at high densities the risk of disease transmission grows exponentially. Wild animals held in captivity often suffer higher stress brought about by a reduction in immunity from nutritional deficiencies or the stress of captivity. There is also a significant risk of transmission of diseases from captive deer to free ranging wildlife.

What gives DNR the authority to regulate captive deer? In 2002, DNR adopted a new regulation, which prohibits the possession of live Cervids which includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, black-tailed deer, caribou (reindeer), fallow deer, roe deer, musk deer, swamp deer, Pampas deer, tufted deer, red deer, and sika deer.

What should I do if I currently have a deer in possession? Please call the Wildlife and Heritage Service at 410-260-8559.

What happens after I contact the DNR? Owners of captive deer will be given up to 90 days to find suitable out-of-state facilities for their deer. DNR will assist the owner with finding an out-of-state home for the deer. No citations will be issued during the initial “amnesty” period, however if the owner does not find a new home for the deer within the alloted timeframe, DNR will seek consent from the owner to allow DNR to humanely euthanize and test the deer for disease.

Can I get a permit to legally keep my deer? No. DNR has not issued any new permits since 1984.

Can I release my deer into the wild? No. Because of the significant health risks, at no time will the owner be permitted to release captive deer to the wild.

Who will pay for the cost of relocating the deer? All costs associated with relocating the deer will be the responsibility of the person in possession of the deer.

Why is it necessary to euthanize deer in order to test for potential disease? At this time, the only approved test for diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease and Rabies requires the animal to be humanely euthanized in order to test a portion of the animal’s brain.

If I am a current permit holder how will I be notified if there are any changes to my permit? DNR will mail you a letter advising you of any changes and correction actions that need to be completed.

Natural Resources Police Seize Deer; Wildlife Officials Remind Public Of Dangers Of Chronic Wasting Disease

Pasadena – Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers and Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) biologists executed a search and seizure warrant yesterday at a residence in Pasadena to seize and transport 14 fallow deer that were held captive illegally. The deer were transported to a lab to be euthanized. The deer will be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Tuberculosis (TB).

“Given the potentially devastating effects of CWD, a disease nearly identical to Mad-Cow Disease, and the unknown effects associated with it, failure to take quick and decisive action would be irresponsible as state natural resource managers,” said Paul A. Peditto, WHS Director.

“By eliminating these potential carriers, we can find and minimize any potential outbreaks,” Peditto added. “As with any wildlife disease, the likelihood that these pathogens appear increases exponentially when wild animals are held in captivity.”

CWD is fatal to deer and elk species. There is no live animal test for CWD; nor is there a vaccine that can be administered. The disease attacks the brain and spinal cord of the animals and is believed to be caused by prions, which are modified proteins. Most northeastern and southeastern states have conducted CWD surveillance for the past two years and no sign of CWD has been found in hunter-harvested deer.

The owner of the captive deer, Allen Edwards Anderson, 62, was charged with possessing live deer within the state without a proper wildlife permit.

Game husbandry licenses for deer have not been issued in the state of Maryland since 1984 to prevent the spread of rabies. At that time, more than 100 people were exposed to deer that tested positive for rabies.

In addition, a new state regulation that took effect in 2002 states that a person may not transport a live deer (cervid) into or out of the State or transport, move or possess a live deer within the State.

There is a ban on importation, exportation and the transportation of legally licensed deer except when transporting for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.

For more information about Chronic Wasting Disease and DNR’s effort to prevent it from reaching the state, visit the DNR web site at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/cwdinformation.html

Chronic Wasting Disease Not Found in Maryland Deer

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 9, 2003) — Results of tests on Maryland’s white-tailed deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have found no sign of the illness in the 304 deer tested announced the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Division. Veterinarians from the Maryland Department of Agriculture and of the United States Department of Agriculture worked with DNR wildlife biologists to collect brain and lymph gland samples during Maryland’s 2002-2003 deer firearm season. Samples were taken from hunter-harvested deer in Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll and Baltimore counties. Additional samples were obtained from managed deer hunts.

The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) lab located at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine conducted the testing of the brain and lymph gland samples. The SCWDS internationally known lab processed samples from across the southeastern states.

Hunters who cooperated with this survey will receive a postcard that indicates that their harvested white-tailed deer tested negative for CWD. If a hunter contributed a CWD sample to DNR and does not receive a card by the end of May, they may call DNR’s deer biologist, Doug Hotton at 410-543-6595.

CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord of deer and elk (cervids). It is believed to be caused by prions, which are modified proteins. CWD is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy similar to “Mad Cow Disease” in cattle and Scrapie in sheep.

CWD has been confirmed in wild cervids within the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois. It has also been found in captive cervids in the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota.

Additional samples of hunter harvested deer will be tested during the 2003-04 deer hunting season. In addition any sick deer reported to DNR that exhibit CWD type clinical symptoms will be tested.

More CWD information is available the DNR Web site at www.dnr.md.us/wildlife/cwdinformation.html and on The Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Web site (www.cwd-info.org)

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