RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 17, 2018) — With the preliminary detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer in western Tennessee, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds deer hunters of a new rule that prohibits the importation of whole deer carcasses and restricts the importation of specific carcass parts from anywhere outside of North Carolina.
The new rule, which was implemented for the 2018-19 deer hunting season, is an effort on the Commission’s part to prevent the spread of CWD into the state. CWD is a transmissible, always fatal, neurological disease that affects deer and other cervids such as elk, moose and reindeer/caribou.
The rule states that anyone transporting cervid carcass parts into North Carolina must follow processing and packaging regulations, which only allow the importation of:
Additionally, all carcass part(s) or container of cervid meat or carcass parts must be labeled or identified with the:
These new restrictions aim to prevent the infectious agent of CWD from contaminating new environments by way of disposal of carcass tissues, particularly those of the brain and spine, as CWD contaminants can persist in the soil for years.
On Friday, officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) announced they were enacting their Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan, following the preliminary positive detections of CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties, which border the Mississippi state line. TWRA biologists are testing additional deer and are trying to contact the hunters who harvested the infected deer.
Out of concern for the serious effects CWD could have on North Carolina’s deer herd, the Commission developed a Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan in 2002, with subsequent revisions over the years to respond to the disease’s ever-growing spread. The plan identifies and guides the agency’s initial short-term (approximately one year) efforts if CWD is detected in the state’s deer herd, or if CWD is detected in deer within 30 miles of its borders. Agency biologists also conduct statewide sampling of deer every year and attempt to sample all deer that show signs of the disease or die of unknown causes.
With Tennessee’s preliminary detection of CWD within its borders, two states bordering North Carolina will have CWD in their deer herds. In Virginia, Shenandoah and Frederick counties, which border West Virginia, have confirmed cases of CWD.
About Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) disease in deer, elk, moose and reindeer/caribou and is always fatal. The source of the disease is an abnormal prion (a form of protein) that collects in the animal’s brain cells. These brain cells eventually burst, leaving behind microscopic empty spaces in the brain matter that give it a “spongy” look. As this occurs, it often causes behavior changes such as decreased interactions with other animals, listlessness, lowering of the head, a blank facial expression, and walking in set patterns.
CWD has no known impacts to the health of humans or livestock. However, the Commission recommends people do NOT eat:
*Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most (if not all) of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
How To Prep a Deer (Cape and Skull Plate) for Importation to NC
To help hunters better understand how to comply with new regulations, the Commission has posted a video “Preparing a Harvested Deer for Importation to NC,” on its YouTube Channel, which features a demonstration by Taxidermist D. Price of Outback Taxidermy on preparation of a deer carcass for importation into the state.
For more information about CWD, visit the Commission’s CWD web page.
Jodie B. Owen