Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada

cwd_mapDownload the full Chronic Wasting Disease and Cervidae Regulations in North America. [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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  • State and Provincial Updates

    Texas The following press release was issued on July 1, 2015 by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

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    Michigan The following press release was issued on May 26, 2015 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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  • CHEYENNE - A ten-year study conducted by the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department suggests that the effects of chronic wasting disease (CWD) on elk populations may not be as devastating as once believed.

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Category Archives: National News

Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program and Interstate Movement of Farmed or Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose

The APHIS Final Rule for interstate transportation of captive cervids was published in the Federal Register on Friday, July 21, 2006. It can be downloaded at

USDA Issues Final Chronic Wasting Disease Rule

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2006–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is finalizing a rule amending its regulations regarding the control and eradication of communicable diseases of livestock to establish a chronic wasting disease (CWD) herd certification program for cervids.

This action provides a necessary and important tool in APHIS’ efforts to eliminate CWD from farmed and captive deer, elk and moose populations.

The final rule standardizes certification requirements that currently vary from state to state. To become certified, cervid herd owners must follow program requirements for animal identification, disease testing, herd management and fencing. Herds that participate in the program for five years with no evidence of CWD may be granted certified status.

The final rule also provides regulations for the interstate movement of cervids. In order to reduce the spread of CWD, only animals from herds participating in the program will be allowed to move interstate. Owners of herds may enroll in a state program equivalent to the federal program, or may enroll directly in the federal program if no state program exists.

CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids that has been found in wild and captive animals in North America and Korea. It was first detected in farmed cervids in the United States in 1997. CWD occurs in multiple species of the deer family, such as deer, elk, and moose, in both captive herds and free-ranging animals. CWD is typified by chronic weight loss that leads to the death of the animal. There has been no evidence to date that CWD can be transmitted to other species of animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats or to humans. Management efforts are essential for reducing the spread of the disease and protecting U.S. cervid herds.

Notice of this final rule was published in July 21 Federal Register and will become effective Oct. 19.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

CWD UPDATE 77 July 13, 2006

Presently, there is no evidence of prion diseases in free-living German cervids. This is the result of a study conducted by scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany. The scientists examined more than 7,300 brain samples taken from cervids (roe deer, red deer and fallow deer) in nearly all districts of Germany. All of them tested negative for TSE. Now, after six cases of scrapie in British mouflon sheep, scientists will start a new study to test German mouflon for prion diseases. The aim of this study is to test mouflon all over Germany; with special attention being paid to 20 high-risk areas. A high-risk area is defined by a large number of free-living mouflon or by the occurrence of scrapie in local sheep.

Canada has confirmed a sixth and seventh case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The sixth case was found in a mature crossbred cow from Manitoba, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said. The agency had announced the discovery of a potential case on Jun 30. In an investigation, CFIA officials determined that the owner purchased the cow in 1992 “as part of an assembled group of cattle,” the agency said. This means that the animal was at least 15 years old and was born well before the 1997 start of Canada’s ban on feeding rendered cattle protein to cattle and other ruminant animals. Investigators are attempting to locate the animal’s birth farm, which will help identify herd mates and the feed it was exposed to at an early age. The seventh case was in a 50-month-old dairy cow from Alberta. The CFIA has located the birth farm, and investigators are tracing other cattle born on the premises within 12 months before or after the birth of the affected animal. Both cases of the disease were detected through Canada’s ongoing surveillance program, and no part of the either animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.

A CWD positive wild white-tailed deer was removed recently at Devil’s Lake State Park in Sauk County, Wisconsin according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The two to three year-old doe was shot by park staff on April 24 on the north side of Devil’s Lake. The animal was targeted because of its emaciated condition, head hanging, and low and easy approachability, all visible indicators of the disease’s late stages. Devil’s Lake State Park is located in the CWD Herd Reduction Zone. This animal is the seventh CWD positive found in Sauk County.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish report the finding of three additional cases of CWD in deer. Two of the deer were located on White Sands Missile Range, where the disease was first detected in New Mexico. The third deer was from the small mountain community of Timberon in the Sacramento Mountains, east of the White Sands site. This brings the total number of positives in New Mexico to 15 deer and two elk.

Finding CWD in Live Animals; South Dakota researcher hopes test can track prions before death

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A South Dakota State University scientist is doing research that could lead to a live animal test for chronic wasting disease.

The fatal illness, for which there is no known cure, attacks the central nervous system of deer and elk, causing the infected animals to waste away.

Alan Young, associate professor of veterinary science, said developing a culture system for CWD could lead to an early stage diagnosis. Current tests can be done only on dead animals’ brains.

“As far as progress goes, we’re still a few years away from an actual diagnostic assay,” he said.

Young’s research is part of a joint effort between the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Vaccinology and the private research company Rural Technologies Inc.

It focuses on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs, a group of diseases caused by abnormal levels of complex proteins called prions.

The most-well-known form of TSE is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as mad cow disease, which struck Britain in the 1980s.

Two cows have been found with the illness in the United States.

The human form is variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, which is believed to have originated from eating infected beef.

TSEs are typically discovered when prions are found in brain tissue during a postmortem test.

But the abnormal proteins also exist in lymph nodes, tonsils and immune cells in the bloodstream.

The problem is the levels are so low, they’re hard to detect, Young said.

His team was able to overcome the problem by focusing on a particular class of immune cells called follicular dendritic cells.

The method involves taking tissues out of an animal and throwing them on a cell type already susceptible to infection.

“Then if you see infection, you know the animal has the disease,” he said.

Although Young’s research is focused on CWD, he hopes the technology will translate to other prion diseases, such as mad cow.

The ultimate beneficiaries of a commercial CWD test will be hunters, game farms and wildlife managers, said Chris Mateo, operations manager for Rural Technologies.

The company is working under a $750,000 small business grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and hopes to have CWD blood test kits ready to sell within two to three years.

Mateo said testing kits, which might retail for $20 to $35, would be marketed to the diagnostic laboratories certified to test for CWD and the country’s captive herd farmers.

There are an estimated 150,000 elk on 2,300 farms and an estimated 550,000 deer on 11,000 farms in the United States, he said.

“They can buy the kit, or send the samples to a diagnostic lab,” Mateo said.

Steve Griffin, a biologist with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, said a live animal test would benefit those tending to captive herds – but not necessarily wildlife officers.

“It’s going to be very helpful for the captive industry. But for the wild animals, it’s not going to help you at all,” Griffin said. “Because you can’t go out and capture every wild animal and test it to see if it’s positive or not.”

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

CWD UPDATE 75 June 14, 2006

A reminder to the states that will be submitting grant applications to USDA-APHIS for CWD work for the coming year. The deadline for grant applications is July 14, 2006. As in the past, applications should be submitted through the local AVIC. A big thank you to Dean Goeldner for his mammoth effort to keep the contract period the same instead of having to go to a calendar year basis, this helps the states in many untold ways. This year, tier 1 states are eligible for $235,000, tier 2 states $75,000, and tier 3 states $48,000.

Wisconsin DNR has published a human dimensions report on “Landowner Response to Chronic Wasting Disease and its Management in Wisconsin’s Southwest Disease Eradication Zone” by Jordan Petchenik. A copy can be downloaded at

Also from Wisconsin DNR; they report that they have collected a total of 24,782 deer for CWD testing so far. The results from 24,761 of these are in with a total of 179 positives. Fifteen of the positives are from the Herd Reduction Zone while the rest are within the Disease Eradication Zone. Since 2002 they have sampled 99,874 deer and have results back from 99,756, with 634 positives, 18 of those in the Herd Reduction Zone.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks reports that they have tested 3,248 samples with 5 positive elk, 4 positive mule deer, and 4 positive whitetail deer; all from the area of known occurrence is western South Dakota. To date, South Dakota has found 46 cases of CWD (32 deer and 14 elk) in free ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park accounts for 14 of these animals (6 elk, 8 deer). A total of 12,298 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997. They will continue to sample sick cervids for CWD. Wind Cave National Park also continues to conduct CWD surveillance.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports two additional CWD positives, both adult male mule deer from Box Butte County. These two animals were exhibiting the clinical signs of CWD, were collected, and tested positive. They were located in the focal area east of Alliance, Nebraska where previous CWD positives have been detected.

The Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division reports that a total of 9 wild deer have tested positive in their province, bringing the total number of positives to 13 since the first case was detected in September of 2005. The winter disease control program removed 1,688 wild deer in the vicinity of Empress and Acadia Valley were 4 deer had tested positive as well as Chauvin where Saskatchewan finds infected deer adjacent to the border. The majority of Alberta’s cases are clustered along the South Saskatchewan River and Red Deer River, both within 10 kilometers of the border. A map of locations in Alberta where CWD has been detected is available at