Deer hunters who hunt deer in other states are reminded that it is illegal for anyone to import, process or possess whole carcasses or parts of deer or elk (from wild or captive deer herds) into Massachusetts from states and Canadian provinces where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected. Those locations are: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia and Wisconsin; plus Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada. The only exceptions to the regulations are deboned meat, cleaned skull caps, hides without heads and finished taxidermy mounts. By restricting importation to these specific deer parts, the importation of neurological tissue –which is where the disease-causing prions are located — is prevented and sportsmen and sportswomen hunting in “infected” states can still safely utilize any deer they harvest. Hunters planning to hunt in other states should also check with those state fish and wildlife agencies to find out about any regulations related to CWD that may be in effect regarding the harvest of deer.
MassWildlife also asks hunters to report any sightings of deer with CWD symptoms to their offices. An updated publication that can be printed or downloaded about CWD is available online in Wildlife area of www.mass.gov/masswildlife and at any MassWildlife office. The brochure describes symptoms of CWD, how CWD is transmitted, actions MassWildlife has taken to keep CWD from entering the state and actions hunters and other wildlife observers can take when they see a sick acting deer. Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disorder known to affect white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk. According to the World Health Organization, this disease does not appear to pose a health risk to people.