As fall hunting seasons get under way, Florida wildlife officials are reminding hunters it is illegal to bring home carcasses of any species of the family Cervidae (e.g. deer, elk and moose) from 10 states and one Canadian province where chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected.
The states and Canadian province where the deadly disease has been detected are: New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, West Virginia and Alberta, Canada. Visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/cwd/ for the most up-to-date CWD coverage.
“To date, no cases of CWD have been found in Florida, and we want to keep it that way,” said Deer Program coordinator Robert Vanderhoof of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Hunting and Game Management. “Hunters can help by observing the restrictions placed on bringing carcasses in from other areas where CWD is a concern.”
CWD, first identified in Colorado in 1967, is a disease that affects the central nervous system and is related to “mad cow” disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. The disease always proves fatal to the infected animal, but there are no known cases of it being transmitted to people, domestic animals or livestock.
Hunters still can bring back de-boned meat from any CWD-affected region, as well as finished taxidermy mounts, hides, skulls, antlers and teeth as long as all soft tissue has been removed.
Whole, bone-in carcasses and parts are permitted to be brought back to Florida if they were harvested from non-affected CWD areas.
“Officers will be on the lookout for violations of the rules on importation of animal carcasses into the state,” said Julie Jones, chief of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement.
“Our first priority is to educate hunters about this issue, and we will investigate all situations involving CWD and take appropriate enforcement action,” she said. “It’s very important that we keep this disease out of Florida.”
To report sick or dead deer suspected of having CWD, call the CWD hotline (866) 293-9282. For more information about CWD, visit MyFWC.com/cwd.