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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.


  • collects and tests samples from hunter-harvested deer for CWD annually;
  • responds to reports of sick wild deer and tests them for CWD;
  • enforces regulations to prevent importation and illegal disposal of potentially infected CWD material; and
  • shares information on CWD with stakeholders.


The Division of Fish and Wildlife has conducted a CWD surveillance program since 2002. The highest priority of this program is to collect and test sick and abnormally 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, 748 KB) is designed to collect samples from the highest risk areas in the state. Data is being gathered to update the plan in 2018.

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. It utilizes 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. For more details, view the evaluation report listed below.

Annual Surveillance Evaluation Reports

Regulatory Action

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.