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Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Why You Should Care

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose that poses a serious threat to wild populations nationwide. Consequently, it has the potential to impact all the benefits associated with deer and moose in New York: enjoyment of watching healthy animals; hunting traditions and sustainable use of venison; and economic benefits derived from big game hunting.

How You Can Help

Report Sick or Abnormal-Acting Deer

Contact your nearest DEC regional wildlife office or Environmental Conservation Officer to report a deer that appears sick, unusually thin, or behaves abnormally.

Hunters who harvest a deer in New York can pay to have their deer tested. To learn more, visit the Cornell University Wildlife Health Lab page (leaves DEC website). Please note that the CWD test is not considered a food safety test. The result will be positive, non-detect, or not able to be tested. The CDC recommends no one knowingly consume a CWD-positive deer.

Don't Feed Wild Deer or Moose

  • Feeding artificially concentrates animals in one location for extended periods of time, increasing the likelihood for diseases to spread. Read more about deer and moose feeding restrictions and the negative impact it has on wildlife.

CWD Regulations and Best Management Practices While Hunting

  • Don't ship or import a whole carcass or an intact trophy head into New York.
    If you hunt deer, elk, moose, or caribou anywhere outside of New York, you may only import the deboned meat, cleaned skull cap, antlers with no flesh adhering, raw or processed cape or hide, cleaned teeth or lower jaw, and finished taxidermy products into New York. Follow the big game importation restrictions to prevent the spread of CWD. For helpful information on how to bone-out deer meat to remove these high risk tissues, visit the CWD Alliance website (leaves DEC website).
  • Avoid Using Natural Deer Urine-based Lures.
    CWD prions have been found in urine of infected and asymptomatic deer. Urine is collected from captive cervids in catch pens that also contaminate urine with feces and saliva, which can also contain CWD prions. CWD continues to be found at captive cervid facilities in increasing number. There is currently no means to ensure that urine-based lures are free of CWD prions. Synthetic scent products are widely available.
  • Dispose of harvested carcass parts properly.
    Disposing of your carcass waste in a landfill is a best practice now, and will be a critical practice if CWD is found in New York. View NYCRR Part 189: Chronic Wasting Disease regulations for complete details.

Report Violators

Taxidermists and deer processors are the frontline for detecting possible importation of CWD infected material. If you discover that carcasses or parts of deer, elk or moose were brought into New York illegally, call an Environmental Conservation Officer.

Spread the Word

Educate others about this fatal disease that continues to threaten white-tailed deer, elk, and moose nationwide. With everyone working together, we can help prevent its spread. Refer others to DEC's CWD webpages or print out and share DEC's booklet NYS Chronic Wasting Disease: Prevention, Surveillance, Response (PDF, 11 MB) so they can learn about the disease and how to keep New York State's wild deer herd free from CWD.

A Healthy Deer Population Means:

  • Continued enjoyment of wild deer viewing.
    There are approximately 1.82 million New Yorkers who enjoy viewing deer near their home. More than half a million New York residents and approximately 150,000 non-residents routinely travel in New York to view deer.
  • Continued tradition of big game hunting.
    White-tailed deer hunting is the most popular type of hunting in America, with more than half a million deer hunters in New York State alone.
  • Stability of businesses.
    Taxidermists, meat processors, retail providers, outfitters and guides, hunting media, lodging facilities, and more are among the many businesses that cater to deer hunters.
  • Increased economic benefit.
    Deer hunting brings in nearly 700 million dollars annually to New York's economy.

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