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Prevent the Spread of 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 hunting, hunter participation and economic benefits derived from big game hunting.

A healthy deer population means...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How You Can Help

Report Sick or Abnormal Acting Deer

Contact your nearest DEC regional wildlife office or Environmental Conservation Officer to report an animal that appears sick 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 (link leaves DEC's 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.

Follow CWD Regulations

  • Don't ship or import a whole carcass or an intact trophy head into New York.
    If you plan on hunting out-of-state and bringing your deer, elk, or moose back to New York, it is important to be aware of and follow big game importation restrictions to prevent the spread of this disease. Part of reducing the risk is preventing the movement of whole deer carcasses across state borders. Process your deer locally before transporting it out of or into New York State. View a list of local deer processors and taxidermists for this purpose (PDF).
  • Don't feed wild deer and 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.

View NYCRR Part 189: Chronic Wasting Disease regulations (link leaves DEC website) for complete details.

Consider Alternatives to 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.

Remove and Dispose of Harvested Carcass Parts Properly

  • Bone-out deer to remove high risk tissues.
    CWD prions accumulate in the brain, tonsils, eyes, neck lymph nodes, backbone, spleen, and intestinal tract. For helpful information on how to bone-out deer meat to remove these high risk tissues, visit the CWD Alliance website (see "Links Leaving DEC's Website" in the right-hand column of this page).
  • Bag and dispose of carcass parts in the trash or a landfill.
    Leaving carcass parts in the environment, such as in your backyard, increases the risk of spreading CWD.
  • Do not render, try to burn, compost or melt down carcasses.
    These methods do not break down infectious CWD prions.

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.

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  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8883.
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