The white-tailed deer hunting season is upon us and Virginia deer hunters need to be aware of regulations before heading into the field. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is requesting that hunters pay particular attention to regulations related to Chronic Wasting Disease.
State officials are asking hunters to become familiar with regulations before transporting deer after a progressive neurological disease was found in 12 deer harvested in Frederick County and one deer killed on the road in Shenandoah County.
CWD Rules, Carcass Import Regs
The VDGIF stated that because of CWD, whitetail hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Virginia, and must follow state importation regulations when transporting cervid carcasses into Virginia.
The VDGIF is has implemented deer management strategies within the CWD containment area of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah counties. All cervids killed in those areas on November 19 and 26, 2016 must be brought to a designated CWD sampling station for mandatory testing.
Virginia whitetail hunters can still check their harvested deer via telephone or internet but must bring the deer to a designated CWD sampling station on the dates above for testing. No over-the-phone or web-based testing for the disease exists, yet.
CWD in Cervids
CWD impacts all cervids, including elk, deer and a number of other native and exotic species. CWD has been detected in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological disease found in North America and two other countries around the world. The disease results in death of the animal, although it make take years for the infected animal to show symptoms or die.
Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include drooling, abnormal posture, lowered head, confusion, staggering and dramatic weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, pets or even livestock. Hunters that encounter a deer that displays any of the described symptoms should contact a VDGIF representative as soon as possible.
CWD threatens white-tailed deer and deer hunting in Virginia and across the country. Whether hunting in state or out, understand the CWD carcass import regulations and check station requirements before harvesting a deer and bringing it home. It could cost more than just a ticket.
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