A new proclamation that establishes guidelines for transporting deer and elk carcasses into North Dakota is a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease into the state, according to Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The 2003 deer and elk carcass importation proclamation, signed by Governor John Hoeven, provides transportation and importation guidelines for white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk carcasses and carcass parts. “CWD is a serious threat to our wild populations of deer and elk, as well as the farmed deer and elk industry,” Kreil said. “Precautions and safeguards are necessary to prevent the spread of the disease and to manage the disease should it ever be found in the state.”

CWD affects the nervous system of white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.

To date, CWD has not been diagnosed in wild or farmed deer or elk in North Dakota. The disease was first documented in Colorado in 1967 and has been found in a growing number of locations across North America in recent years.

During the 2003 legislative session, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2323, giving the governor authority – through annual proclamation – to implement carcass importation restrictions. Hunters are no longer allowed to transport into North Dakota the whole carcass, or carcass parts of white-tailed deer, mule deer or elk from areas within states or provinces with documented occurrences of CWD in wild populations and private game farms.

Hunters are allowed to transport the following portions of the carcass:

* 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 heads.

The following game management units, equivalent wildlife management units, or counties have deer or elk diagnosed with CWD, and only the carcass parts listed above from harvested elk, white-tailed and mule deer in these units will be allowed into North Dakota.

* Colorado – game management units 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, 51, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 161, 191, 211, 301, 421, 441, 461, 951;

* Illinois – Counties of Winnebago, Boone, McHenry;

* Nebraska – Upper Platte, Plains, and Pine Ridge Units including counties of Cheyenne, Kimball, Sioux, Scotts Bluff, Morrill;

* New Mexico – White Sands Missile Base (GMU 19);

* Saskatchewan – Wildlife Management Zone 13, 14, 46, 68 South;

* South Dakota – Counties of Fall River, Custer, Pennington;

* Utah – South Slope Unit 9 and La Sal Unit 13

* Wisconsin – any deer registered with a Wisconsin DNR red registration tag from the area designated as the Disease Eradication Zone including deer management zones 70-CWD, 70A-CWD, 71-CWD, 76-CWD, 77B;

* Wyoming – Deer Hunt Areas 10, 14, 15, 16, 22, 34, 55, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67,73, 75, 78, 82, 88, 89, 158, or Elk Hunt Areas 5, 6, 7.

Additional units may be added as necessary, Kreil said. “The public will be informed of any additional areas through our department news releases and web site,” he added.

Because each state has its own set of rules and regulations, hunters should contact the state in which they will be hunting to obtain more information. “All hunters must comply with regulations in the state they are hunting,” Kreil said.