CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department today announced that it will hold a public hearing to consider prohibiting the importation of carcasses from all members of the family Cervidae (i.e. deer, moose and elk) taken by hunters in “CWD Positive Jurisdictions” unless the meat is de-boned. The purpose of the rule is to minimize the risk of hunters bringing chronic wasting disease (CWD) into the state in carcasses, thereby exposing wild and captive deer populations in New Hampshire to CWD. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Fish and Game headquarters at 2 Hazen Drive in Concord. For more information, call (603) 271-2461.

The proposed regulations would prohibit the importation into New Hampshire of all parts of cervid carcasses from CWD Positive Jurisdictions except for: de-boned meat, antlers, antlers attached to skull caps from which all tissue has been removed, upper canine teeth (i.e. elk buglers), hides or capes with no part of the head attached, finished taxidermy mounts and tissues prepared for research laboratories. Currently, “CWD Positive Jurisdictions” include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming in the U.S.; plus Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disorder known to affect white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk. While research continues, current information suggests that CWD is most likely transmitted by an abnormal protein present in the nervous system and lymphatic tissue of infected animals. These abnormal proteins are very stable and may persist in the environment for long periods, posing a risk to animals that come into contact with them.

When meat is boned out, most of the lymphatic and nervous tissue, including the spinal cord, is left behind along with the skeletal system. For this reason, de-boning carcasses significantly reduces the risk of transmission of CWD.

Recent CWD surveillance testing in New Hampshire has shown no evidence of chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer population to date. Click here for a fact sheet with frequently asked questions about CWD.

Written comments on the proposal may be submitted by August 15, 2003, to: [email protected]; or Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 2 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax (603) 271-1438.