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Virginia hunters impacted by discovery of deer disease in Pennsylvania

It's hunting season and while many hunters may choose to stay closer to home, those that hunt in neighboring states need to be vigilant.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in Pennsylvania in October. Hunters may not bring back whole deer carcasses from Adams, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Lycoming, McKean, and York Counties in Pennsylvania, into Virginia.

Virginia, like most states, prohibits the importation or possession of the riskier parts of deer, elk, or moose carcasses from any area designated as a carcass-restriction zone in a state or Canadian province in which CWD has been found. Only the following carcass parts are allowed to be transported into Virginia from a carcass-restriction zone:
• Boned out 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.
• Hides and capes 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 products.

Carcass-restriction zones are also in place in Maryland (Allegany County) and West Virginia (Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan Counties).

For more information regarding other carcass-restriction zones in the rest of the country, please visit: www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.
Deer hunting season in Virginia began Nov. 15 and ends Jan. 3.

What is CWD?

Similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a transmissible neurological disease of deer and elk that produces small lesions in brains of infected animals. It is characterized by loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities and death. CWD is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

CWD has been detected in 22 states (including Virginia, where four positives have been detected) and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America. The disease ultimately results in death of the animal. Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

A contagious fatal disease among deer and elk, research to date suggests that humans, cattle and other domestic livestock are resistant to natural transmission.
While the possibility of human infection remains a concern, it is important to note there have been no verified cases of humans contracting CWD.


CWD in Virginia


The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is also continuing several management actions in the northern Shenandoah Valley in response to the presence of CWD in Frederick County, Virginia. Within the containment area, these measures included mandatory sampling of deer killed on the first three Saturdays of the general firearms season prohibiting the movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the containment area (with exceptions), restricting the disposal of deer wastes from the containment area, and prohibiting the rehabilitation of deer.

In the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren, and in the City of Winchester, feeding of deer is prohibited year round and seasons and bag limits on private lands have been liberalized in an attempt to reduce the deer population.

Anyone who sees a sick deer that displays any of the signs described should contact the nearest Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) office immediately with accurate location information.

Please do not attempt to disturb or kill the deer before contacting VDGIF. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.

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