Chronic Wasting Disease - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) poses a serious threat to New York's white-tailed deer population, the deer hunting tradition, and the many other benefits associated with a wild white-tailed deer population.

What You Should Know

White-tailed deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease
The term "Chronic Wasting Disease" describes the
emaciation that eventually results from infection.
Photo by Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources,
courtesy of CWD Alliance
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an untreatable and fatal brain and nervous system disease found in deer, elk, and moose.
    Learn about CWD. CWD Fact Sheet (PDF, 295 KB).
  • Bringing hunter-killed deer, elk, or moose carcasses into New York from CWD-positive states is illegal and increases the risk of spreading this fatal disease.
    Learn about CWD regulations for hunters.
  • Feeding deer and moose increases the risk that CWD and other harmful diseases will spread.
    Learn about deer and moose feeding laws and regulations.
  • CWD was first detected in New York State in 2005, but no new cases have occurred since.
    Learn about the status of CWD in New York.
  • There is no evidence that CWD can infect humans, but precautions are advised when handling, processing, and eating big game meat.
    Learn about safe handling and processing of deer meat.
  • You have a stake in keeping New York deer free from CWD whether you hunt deer in the fall, make your living perfecting lifelike mounts, earn extra cash by cutting up deer, or enjoy viewing deer in your backyard.
    Learn about how you can help prevent the spread of CWD.

What DEC is Doing

Prevention

  • DEC and NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets are pursuing strategies to reasonably minimize the risk of CWD entry and spread in New York.
    Learn about the NYS Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan (PDF, 3.9 MB).

Surveillance

  • DEC implements a strategic, risk-based CWD surveillance program to identify the earliest intrusion of CWD into New York, focusing on the animals and locations of greatest risk.
    Learn about CWD surveillance.

Prepared for Response

  • At the present time, CWD is not known to infect deer or moose in New York. Should CWD be detected in wild or captive cervids in New York, response actions will immediately be taken by DEC and NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets.
    Learn about the NYS Interagency CWD Response Plan (PDF, 2.1 MB).

CWD Regulations

CWD regulations are designed to reduce the risk of bringing the disease into New York from other parts of the country and minimizing its spread if it is brought here. The main components of the state's CWD regulations (NYCRR Part 189) include:

  • Restriction on Importation of Live Deer, Elk, and Moose
    The regulation prohibits the importation into New York State any captive deer, elk, or moose except under a permit issued by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (leaves DEC Website).
  • Restriction on Hunter-killed Big Game Carcass Importation and Possession
    The regulation imposes a restriction on the importation and possession of high risk tissues where CWD has been shown to concentrate. This includes the brain, eyes, spinal cord, lymph nodes, tonsils, intestinal tract, or spleen.
  • Restriction on the Liberation of Wild or Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose
    The regulation restricts the release of any wild or captive deer, elk, or moose. An exception is made for wild white-tailed deer temporarily held under department license, such as those under the care of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Restriction on Transportation of Deer, Elk, and Moose Carcasses and Parts through New York
    An exemption allows travelers passing through New York to transport carcasses, provided that no parts are disposed of or remain in New York State.
  • Restriction on Deer and Moose Feeding
    The regulation prohibits feeding of wild deer and wild moose under most circumstances. This prohibition includes the use of substances that serve as an edible attractant, such as powdered or crystallized minerals.

More about Chronic Wasting Disease:

  • About CWD - Find out what causes the disease, how it spreads, sings of infection, where it is distributed and more.
  • Prevent the Spread of CWD - Hunters, taxidermists, deer processors and all who have an interest in New York's deer can help prevent the spread of CWD.
  • CWD Surveillance - Learn about DEC's actions designed to reduce the risk of bringing CWD into New York State and how DEC monitors for early detection of CWD.
  • Status of CWD - Learn about the initiation of DEC's CWD surveillance program, the first case of CWD in New York, actions taken by DEC to minimize its spread and much more.