The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is warning St. Lawrence County hunters that chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues to pose a potential threat to white-tailed deer.
“Preventing the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease into New York is vital to protecting our deer herds and is a high priority for DEC,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
Hunters should take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Late last year, CWD was found on a deer farm in Pennsylvania and in early 2013, CWD was confirmed in Pennsylvania’s white-tailed deer herd.
CWD is a highly contagious and deadly brain and nervous system disease that affects deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. CWD is always fatal and there are no vaccines or treatment available. Certain parts of dead animals remain infectious on the landscape and in the soil for many years.
“The most effective way to protect New York’s deer herd is to keep CWD infectious material out of the state and hunters can play an important role in this effort, says Martens.”
There is no evidence that CWD can infect humans, but DEC urges caution when handling or processing CWD susceptible animals.
Individuals who hunt deer, elk or moose outside of New York should know it is illegal to bring carcasses from any CWD susceptible animal taken at a shooting preserve or to bring in whole carcasses from any state or province that has had CWD confirmed cases in wild herds. A full list of prohibited parts can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7191.html <http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7191.html> .
Before leaving to hunt out-of-state know the CWD status of the state or province you plan to hunt in since it can change at any time. For example, four additional states became CWD positive in 2012: Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.
Proper handling of wild meat and the trophy will eliminate all the prohibited parts required by New York’s CWD regulation. DEC recommends that hunters dispose of any carcass waste into a proper waste stream either by putting in with household trash or otherwise ensuring it ends up in a licensed landfill. Landowners may dispose of their own deer on their property, but it is illegal in all cases for meat processors, butchers, and taxidermists to dispose of waste generated from their business in any way other than a landfill or rendering facility.