CWD Management and Surveillance
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. The following information on this page describes the actions DEC is taking to protect our deer population from this disease.
- Annually, DEC collects and tests samples from hunter-harvested deer for CWD.
- DEC responds to reports of sick wild deer and tests them for CWD.
- DEC enforces regulations to prevent importation and illegal disposal of potentially infected CWD material.
- DEC shares information on CWD with stakeholders.
The Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources has conducted a CWD surveillance program since 2002. The highest priority of this program is to collect and test sick and abnormal acting deer to determine if these animals have CWD. In addition, CWD samples are collected from hunter-killed deer during the open season. The 2013-2014 CWD Surveillance Plan (PDF, 2.6 MB) is designed to collect samples from the highest risk areas in the state.
DEC annually examines 1,500 to 2,000 deer specimens to monitor for the presence of CWD. This ongoing program uses a statistically valid, risk-based sampling scheme based on New York's wild white-tailed deer population density and other risk factors to determine the appropriate number of samples needed throughout the state.
Samples are collected from cooperating deer processors and taxidermists, then are processed by DEC personnel and sent to the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for analysis.
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 (see "Links Leaving DEC's Website" in the right column of this page for more details)
- Restriction on Hunter-killed Big Game Carcass Importation and Possession
The regulation imposes a restriction on the importation and possession of high risks tissues where CWD has been shown to concentrate, including 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 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.