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Chronic Wasting Disease, Disease Management Areas

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is reminding hunters that 11 counties in northwestern Virginia have been included in a Disease Management Area (DMA) for the 2020-2021 hunting seasons.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious, neurological, fatal disease of deer that is considered one of the greatest threats to the long-term health of Virginia’s deer population. Since 2009, CWD has been detected in 74 deer from Frederick County, 10 deer from Shenandoah County, two deer from Clarke County, one deer from Culpeper County, and one deer from Fauquier County.

DWR depends on the cooperation of all of Virginia’s hunters to take steps today that will benefit the deer populations and hunters of the future. The agency asks that hunters please follow CWD rules and regulations and help spread awareness about CWD.

DMAs and the regulations that apply to them are designed to slow the spread of CWD into new areas of Virginia. For the 2020 – 2021 hunting season, DMA1 includes Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. DMA2 includes Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, and Rappahannock counties. Deer carcass transport is restricted in both DMAs.

Boned-out or quartered meat, capes with no skulls attached, skulls or skull plates with no attached brain tissue, clean antlers, ivories, or finished taxidermists products from deer originating in a DMA may be legally transported out of a DMA and possessed anywhere in Virginia. No whole deer carcasses or parts not listed above from deer originating in either DMA may be transported to any Virginia county not included in a DMA.

Whole deer carcasses and parts containing brain, spine, or spleen (also known as high-risk carcass parts) from deer originating in DMA1 may be transported within DMA1 counties only.

Whole deer carcasses and high-risk carcass parts from deer originating in DMA2 may be transported anywhere within either DMA1 or DMA2.

During the 2020 – 2021 deer hunting season, DWR will be sampling deer for CWD testing throughout DMA1 and DMA2. Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, there will be no mandatory CWD sampling during the 2020-2021 hunting season. However, hunters who harvest a deer in a DMA are encouraged to voluntarily get their deer tested. Starting on October 3rd, DWR will have voluntary CWD testing sites in all DMA counties to service hunters who harvest deer within a DMA.  Please check the DWR CWD website at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/ for additional information on how to get deer tested for CWD.

CWD has been detected in 26 states and four Canadian provinces. The disease is a slowly progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease of deer, elk, and moose. The disease ultimately results in the death of all infected animals. There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans. However, the CDC and DWR strongly advises against consuming meat from any deer, elk, or moose known to be infected with CWD or from any game animal that appears ill prior to death.

Clinical signs exhibited by CWD-infected deer include, staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss. Anyone who sees a sick deer that displays any of the signs described above should contact the DWR Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 1-855-571-9003 with accurate location information. Please do not attempt to disturb or kill the deer before contacting DWR.

More information is available at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.

 

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