Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada

cwd_mapDownload the full Chronic Wasting Disease and Cervidae Regulations in North America. [PDF]

Download a quick reference map of Rules Governing Interstate Transport of High-risk White-tailed Deer Carcass Parts [PDF].

The number one objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread into new areas. One theoretical mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses. Therefore, in an effort to minimize the risk of disease spread, a number of states have adopted regulations affecting the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk.

Since the suspected infective agent (prion) is concentrated in the brain, spinal cord and lymph glands, the most common regulation is the prohibition of the importation of whole carcasses harvested from CWD areas. Some states, like Colorado, also have established regulations addressing the transport of deer and elk out of CWD areas. Generally, states that have adopted carcass transportation regulations do not allow the importation of any brain or spinal column tissue and allow transport of only the following:

  • 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.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as "buglers," "whistlers," or "ivories."
  • Finished taxidermy.

A summary of state-by-state carcass transportation regulations is provided in Column J of the regulations on each state page (accessible from the home page) or on the map. Since these regulations are continually evolving, it is recommended that before hunting you check the CWD regulations in your home state, the state in which you will be hunting and states in which you will travel through en route home from your hunting area. Most state wildlife agencies provide regulations information on their websites, and may be accessed via the clickable map on the home page.

The Carcass Transport and Disposal Working Group of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Fish and Wildlife Health Committee developed the following guidelines for regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to carcass transport and disposal. The intent of the working group is to encourage states to adopt policies that minimize risk; do not hinder hunting, wild cervid population management, or disease control; are easily understood; and promote compliance because they are consistent and well-justified. The recommendations are based on current knowledge of CWD and may be updated when new information becomes available. The Working Group recognizes state wildlife management agencies will tailor their approach to fit individual concerns and situations, and asks that agency directors, through AFWA, give serious and urgent consideration to this matter so that this potential risk of CWD spread can be minimized.

Transport and Disposal of Hunter-killed Cervid Carcasses: Recommendations to Wildlife Agencies to Reduce Chronic Wasting Disease Risks [PDF]

US Legislation

---April 6, 2004---
Senate Hearing on S1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003

Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water
April 6, 2004

CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document
Other Testimony

---January 9, 2004---
S 2007 - BSE and Other Prion Disease Prevention and Public Health Protection Act

To provide better protection against bovine spongiform encephalopathy and other prion diseases.
S 2007 PDF document
S 2007 Word document

---June 19, 2003---
Congressional Hearing on HR 2057

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
Thursday, June 19, 2003


---June 9, 2003---
HR 2431 - Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force Establishment Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To establish a National Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, and for other purposes.
HR2431 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2430 - Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Monitoring, and Education Enhancement Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To amend the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act to coordinate and strengthen scientific research and monitoring, and to promote public outreach, education, and awareness, of Chronic Wasting Disease affecting free-ranging populations of deer and elk, and for other purposes.
HR2430 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
S 1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
S1366 PDF document | Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2636 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
HR2636 PDF document | Word document

---May 9, 2003---
S 1036 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support Act of 2003

Introduce in the Senate May 9, 2003 by Senator Allard (CO)
S1036 Word document
S1036 PDF document

---May 9, 2003---
HR 2057 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act of 2003

Introduced in the House of Representatives May 9, 2003 by Rep. McInnis (CO)
HR2057 Word document
HR2057 PDF document

---April 18, 2003---
FY 2004 Budget - Conservation Organizations Request Congressional Support for CWD

24 organizations sign letter requesting funding for National CWD Plan- April 18, 2003
Letter Word document

---May 16, 2002---
Congressional Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
May 16, 2002
CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document | Word document

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Category Archives: National News

Public Comments Solicited on CWD Rule

The final rule on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Herd Certification Program and Interstate Movement of Farmed or Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose was published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on July 21, 2006 (SCWDS BRIEFS, Vol. 22, No. 2).

The rule was the result of efforts that go back at least to 1998 when a model program for CWD surveillance, control, and eradication was presented to the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA). The final rule was to be implemented on October 19, 2006; however, on September 8, 2006, APHIS announced a delay in the effective date of the rule (Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 174, p. 52983). On November 3, 2006, APHIS announced that it was soliciting public comments on three petitions it had received concerning the final rule and will consider all comments it receives on or before December 4, 2006 (Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 213, pp. 64650-64651).

The announcement on November 3, and accompanying press release from APHIS stated, “We recently received three petitions requesting a delay in the effective date of the CWD rule and reconsideration of several requirements of the rule. We are currently evaluating the merits of these petitions, and…are making the petitions available for public review and requesting comments on them.” The petitions are from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, and USAHA.

APHIS invites the public to comment on any of the issues raised by the petitions, but is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the following areas:

  • Consider the alternatives of implementing a federal interstate movement standard versus allowing individual state standards to apply. What hardships or benefits would each alternative impose?
  • With respect to the spread of CWD, in addition to the requirements established by the APHIS CWD rule, what additional safeguards do states need to mitigate or reduce the risk of disease transmission and why are they needed?
  • What practical or operational problems may be expected from the final rule and from the alternatives suggested by the petitions? How could they be alleviated; and
  • Are there any alternatives that could address the petitioners’ concerns, other than allowing the movement requirements of individual states to take precedence over the federal standard?

The petitions may be viewed and comments may be submitted electronically by going to, then select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0118 to submit or view public comments and to see supporting and related materials. Comments also may be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817. Following evaluation of the comments, APHIS will announce the future direction of the federal CWD program. (Prepared by John Fischer)

Researchers Detect CWD in Heart Muscle of Elk and White-tailed Deer

Chronic wasting disease for the first time has been found in the heart muscle of white-tailed deer and elk, according to researchers in the University of Wyoming’s College of Agriculture.

The finding is important to wildlife managers, hunters and scientists because the cardiac muscle — which comprises meat — of big-game animals susceptible to CWD is consumed by humans.

Hunters, however, should not be alarmed, said Jean Jewell, a research scientist in the UW Department of Veterinary Sciences.

“There is a tendency for people to become alarmed when they hear something that makes them think their health might be at risk, but at this stage there is no evidence to suggest humans are susceptible to CWD,” Jewell said.

That does not mean hunters shouldn’t take precautions, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (G&F). They are advised not to kill or eat animals that appear sick, and it is recommended they wear long, disposable rubber or latex gloves when field dressing animals. This will help protect them from not only CWD but other diseases.

Meat should be removed from bones when butchering, according to G&F.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend animals testing positive for CWD not be consumed, according to a two-page brochure on CWD recently published by the G&F.

The brochure is available at G&F district offices across Wyoming and includes regulations governing the disease in the state, where it has been found, management efforts and how hunters can protect themselves and help prevent the spread of the disease.

An electronic copy is available on the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory’s (WSVL) Web site at The Department of Veterinary Sciences manages the WSVL, where the research took place.

G&F wildlife disease specialist Hank Edwards said the highest concentration of CWD in Wyoming occurs in the southeast corner of the state. “That’s where we’ve historically found it and continue to find it. In the last two years, it was also discovered in the Kaycee, Worland, Thermopolis and Newcastle areas,” he said.

In areas where CWD is known to occur, Jewell noted, hunters are advised not to consume brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes or heart. She said thorough cooking kills many pathogens, but prions are not destroyed by cooking.

CWD is a chronic, fatal disease of mule and white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk and moose. It belongs to the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which are thought to be caused by prions.

A prion is a microscopic protein particle lacking nucleic acid. It is thought to be the infectious agent responsible for CWD, the other animal TSEs (including scrapie in domestic sheep and bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE], also known as “mad cow” disease, in cattle), and other degenerative diseases of the nervous system. There is no evidence CWD is transmissible to livestock, Jewell said.

Jewell and UW research partner Jeremy Brown said their finding of abnormal prion proteins in the heart tissue of elk and white-tailed deer raises additional questions.

“This study has opened some interesting avenues for further research, such as delving further into the pathology of the disease and following it down through the nervous system,” Brown said. For instance, he asked, why was CWD detected in only the heart muscle and not other muscle tissues of the infected white-tailed deer and elk?

Why wasn’t the disease found in the heart muscle of CWD-infected mule deer?

Jewell and Brown detected seven CWD-positive heart samples from 16 captive and one free-ranging white-tailed deer infected with the disease. They also detected CWD in the heart muscle of 12 of 17 captive elk that were infected.

“This is the first report of disease-associated prion protein in the cardiac muscle tissue of ruminants infected with a TSE,” said Jewell, who carried on the research started in 2003 by the late Beth Williams, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Sciences, and Terry Kreeger, adjunct professor in the department and supervisor of the G&F’s Veterinary Services Branch.

“This had not been seen before in any of the animal prion diseases,” Jewell said. Previously, she said, CWD had been detected in the lymph nodes and nervous systems — including the brain and spinal cord – of white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk.

Jewell said other parts of infected deer can contain very small amounts of CWD prions that can only be detected by sensitive bioassays. Bioassay is the determination of the strength of a biological activity of a substance, such as a drug or hormone, by comparing its effects with those of a standard preparation on a test organism.

CWD has been diagnosed in wild deer and elk in 10 states, including Wyoming, and two Canadian provinces, said Cynthia Tate, G&F assistant wildlife veterinarian.

One of the most recent cases was detected by the WSVL Sept. 29 and involved an elk killed by a hunter in the Shirley Mountains northwest of Medicine Bow in southeastern Wyoming. Animals show no apparent signs of illness throughout much of the disease course. In terminal stages of CWD, animals typically are emaciated and display abnormal behavior.

Hunters taking animals in the CWD areas identified in the G&F regulations should consider submitting samples of deer, elk or moose to the WSVL or G&F for testing, Jewell said.

The WSVL fee is $25, and results are typically known within two weeks. The G&F does not charge for testing, but it will only test animals based on where they were harvested and what the current department needs are, Edwards said.

The Wyoming Wildlife/Livestock Disease Research Partnership and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies contributed $100,000 to a number of CWD projects started by Williams, including the one just completed.

Helping with the project by Jewell and Brown were Paula Jaeger, Mercedes Thelen, Todd Cornish and Don Montgomery with the Department of Veterinary Sciences; Edwards and Kreeger with the G&F; and Michael Miller with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

A report of these findings is being published in the November edition of Journal of General Virology. Authors are Jewell, Brown, Kreeger and the late Beth Williams.

Colorado State University Study Shows Evidence That Chronic Wasting Disease Spreads Through Saliva, Blood

FORT COLLINS – New Colorado State University-led research shows for the first time that chronic wasting disease may spread through saliva and blood of infected deer, which poses new possibilities that the disease may spread by blood-sucking insects or social contact between animals. The study also reinforces that no tissue from an infected animal can be considered free of prions, the disease-causing agent.

The study suggest that chronic wasting disease, called CWD, may spread by social contact such as grooming among deer in nature and environmental contact. The study, led by Edward A. Hoover, a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, also was spearheaded by Colorado State researcher Candace Mathiason.

The research, released in the Oct. 6 edition of the journal Science, tested the blood, saliva, feces and urine of deer infected with CWD to determine ways the disease may be transmitted from animal to animal, which has remained a mystery to scientists.

“This study shows for the first time that CWD can be passed to deer that come into contact with the blood and saliva of infected deer,” said Hoover.

“Although no instance of CWD transmission to humans has been detected, these results prompt caution regarding exposure to body fluids in prion infections such as CWD. This study also causes us to reconsider a potential role for blood-feeding insects such as mosquitoes and ticks in the transmission of CWD or other prion infections.”

While this 18-month study focused on deer, CWD also affects elk and moose.

“Interactions among deer and elk, especially in high density situations, intensifies cross-contact among animals. This contact includes salivary exchange, which provides potential for CWD transmission,” Hoover said. “Such things as grooming, licking and nuzzling are important in the social interactions of deer.”

CWD was first discovered in deer in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming by Colorado State scientists in the 1960s. Related diseases belong to the family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and include scrapie, which affects sheep, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Scrapie has existed in sheep populations for centuries.

Many mysteries continue to surround how TSEs spread from animal to animal or animal to human. CWD now has been detected in deer in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. CWD is contagious to a higher degree among deer, elk and moose than other TSEs.

Researchers biopsied tonsils to detect infectious CWD prions, showing that CWD infection could be detected as early as three months after exposure to saliva or blood from an infected deer – a surprising and important finding, Hoover said.

A seven-year, $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease supported the research.

The study represented a collaboration between scientists from several agencies and universities. Additional researchers within the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were Gary Mason, Sheila Hays, Jeanette Hayes-Klug and Davis Seelig, and Terry Spraker, a scientist at the Colorado State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Other collaborators were David Osborn, Karl Miller and Robert Warren from the University of Georgia; Sallies Dahmes of WASCO Inc.; Michael Miller and Lisa Wolfe at the Colorado Division of Wildlife; Jennifer Powers and Margaret Wild of the U. S. National Park Service; Glenn Telling at the University of Kentucky; and Christina Sigurdson at the University of Zurich.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

CWD UPDATE 80 October 6, 2006

A recent article in Science reported on the infectivity of saliva and blood from CWD infected animals. The article is available here.

The Journal of Infectious Diseases published an article reporting on a study of Colorado hunters in a 7 county area and the prevalence of CJD in the counties. In the counties, 75% of hunting licenses are issued locally, suggesting that resident hunters are the bulk of the folks buying them. The inspection of death certificates from 1979-2001 did not reveal any higher a rate of CJD in the population nor did CJD increase over time. This does not rule out the possibility of human infection but does indicate it is unlikely. The article can be found on the Internet.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

CWD UPDATE 78 September 13, 2006

The escape of over 100 elk from a captive facility in Idaho is causing some concern in Idaho and neighboring Wyoming. The facility had had run ins with authorities in the past and the escape was not reported until a neighbor of the facility reported seeing the animal in her pasture. Details of the escape and efforts to remove the elk are in three attached articles from the Casper, Wyoming Star Tribune newspaper.

The USDA-APHIS-VS has indefinitely postponed the implementation of the new rule on CWD testing and interstate transport of captive cervids. In the September 8 Federal Register, the agency announced the postponement stating that they had received petitions form the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the U. S. Animal Health Association, and the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials protesting certain aspects of the rule. APHIS will publish the petitions in an upcoming Federal Register for comments. The two primary issues raised in all three petitions are; 1) The preemption of Federal interstate movement regulations over State requirements for importation (i.e., issues of federalism); and 2) The scientific basis for the “ramping up” process in the Federal interstate movement requirements.

Nebraska Game and Parks reports an additional CWD positive female white-tailed deer from near the town of Whitney, Nebraska in the panhandle, in the vicinity of numerous other positive findings in the past. This animal was a road kill picked up by agency biologists for testing. This brings the total number of positives for Nebraska to 90 animals since the first one was detected in 2000.