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Carcass Transport Regulations Restrict Hunters from Bringing Whole Deer Harvested
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hunters are advised that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in Virginia in 2009; therefore, special carcass transportation regulations become effective and whole deer harvested in Virginia may not be transported into West Virginia, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). Hunters who harvest deer in Virginia may bring into West Virginia only the meat from which all bones have been removed, the cape, antlers or antlers and skull plate from which all meat or tissue has been removed, cervid canines and finished taxidermy heads.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk that belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The disease is thought to be caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles called prions that slowly attack the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and invariably results in the death of the infected animal. There is no known treatment for CWD. It is important to note that currently there is no evidence to suggest CWD poses a risk for humans or domestic animals.

The discovery of CWD in Hampshire County, West Virginia, in 2005 represents a significant threat to the state's white-tailed deer. While the disease does not cause an immediate widespread die-off of deer, if allowed to spread, CWD could cause long-term damage to the herd. Those who have tried to predict the outcome of the disease on a deer population have described the disease as a 30- to 50-year epizootic. Due to the uncertain ramifications that CWD may have on the state's white-tailed deer resource, WVDNR implemented appropriate actions as described in its CWD Incident Response Plan. Part of this plan includes prohibiting hunters from bringing in whole animals and certain tissues from areas known to have positive cases of CWD.

While there are many scientific uncertainties regarding the basic biology and ecology of CWD that may hinder development of efficient strategies for combating this disease in free-ranging deer, the actions outlined in this plan are designed to accomplish the following goals:

" Determine the prevalence and the distribution of CWD through enhanced surveillance efforts.

" Communicate and coordinate with the public and other appropriate agencies on issues relating to CWD and the steps being taken to respond to this disease.

" Initiate appropriate management actions necessary to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introductions of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state.

"As we strive to meet this wildlife disease challenge and implement appropriate management strategies, the support and involvement of landowners and hunters remains essential," said Director Jezioro. "The WVDNR is committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions."