Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
DNREC cautions Delaware hunters on bringing deer
home from out-of-state CWD-positive areas
DOVER (Nov. 21, 2012) – DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is asking for cooperation from Delaware deer hunters planning to hunt in Pennsylvania’s Adams and York counties and cautioning them that, due to the recent detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in those areas, restrictions will apply for bringing their bounty home.
CWD is a neurological condition found in deer, elk and moose in which an abnormal protein material called a prion invades and gradually destroys the animal’s brain. It is thought to be 100 percent fatal and believed to be transmitted to healthy white-tailed deer through close contact with infected deer. Extensive research has found no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans. Unknown until the 1960s, CWD was identified as a transmittable neurological disease in the 1970s. So far, CWD has been found in deer herds in several eastern states, but not in Delaware.
To help ensure that Delaware remains CWD-free, two regulations were passed in 2008. The first regulation bans importing high-risk parts such as the brain, spine and lymph nodes from deer harvested in areas where CWD has been detected. The second regulation requires Delaware residents to notify the Division of Fish and Wildlife if a deer they harvest out of state tests positive for CWD.
“Hunters are only allowed to bring boned-out portions of meat, hide, and/or antlers attached to a cleaned skull plate, including completed taxidermy mounts, back to Delaware from areas where CWD has been found. All other portions of the deer (bones and head) are not allowed to be transported into our state,” said DNREC Game Mammal Biologist Joe Rogerson. “These measures were put in place to help ensure that Delaware remains free of this disease.”
DNREC began testing hunter-harvested deer for CWD in 2002. So far nearly 4,700 samples have been tested, all of which have been negative for the disease. For the 2012-2013 deer season, the Division of Fish and Wildlife set a goal of testing 200 deer in each county. “A full 600 samples gives us a 99 percent probability of detecting the disease if it existed in one percent or more of Delaware’s deer population,” said Rogerson. “So far, we have exceeded our goal and collected 648 samples this year.”
Surveillance programs such as Delaware’s have been established in all eastern states and most eastern herds seem to be disease-free. The closest state to Delaware in which CWD has been detected is Pennsylvania, where the most recent detection of the disease occurred in October. Other nearby states where CWD has been found are Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Transport of high-risk deer parts into Delaware is restricted from the following areas where CWD has been detected in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia:
- Maryland – Allegheny County in western Maryland adjoining West Virginia;
- Pennsylvania – Adams and York counties, in southern Pennsylvania along the Maryland line west of New Castle County, Del.;
- Virginia – Frederick and Shenandoah counties, in northern Virginia along the West Virginia-Maryland line; and
- West Virginia – Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan counties, in eastern West Virginia between the Maryland and Virginia borders.
The only restrictions for these states are for the counties listed above.
Hunters planning to hunt outside Delaware in a state not listed above are advised to check with their destination state’s fish and wildlife agency to see if CWD has been detected there and if that state has any additional restrictions.
For more details on restrictions for bringing harvested deer into Delaware from out of state, please contact Joe Rogerson, Wildlife Section, at 302-735-3600.
For more information on deer hunting in Delaware or CWD, please visit http://www.fw.delaware.gov/Hunting/Pages/DeerInfo.aspx .
Vol. 42, No. 450