Deer and elk hunters headed to the field this fall should be aware that a number of states have adopted new regulations pertaining to the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk. These regulations are in response to growing concerns about the spread of CWD, and are an attempt to minimize the risk of spreading the disease into new areas.
The number one objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread. One theoretical mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses. 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.
The following states and provinces have adopted some form of carcass transportation regulations:
• California • Colorado • Illinois • Iowa • Manitoba • Michigan • Minnesota • North Dakota • New Mexico • New York • Oregon • Rhode Island • South Carolina • Utah • Vermont
Since these regulations are continually evolving, it is recommended that before hunting hunters check the CWD regulations in their home state, the state in which they will be hunting and states in which they will travel through en route home from their hunting area. Most state wildlife agencies provide regulations information on their websites, and may be accessed through the CWD Alliance website’s CWD LINKS page http://cwd-info.org/index.php/fuseaction/links.main.