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Hunters’ Help Needed to Keep CWD Out of Alabama

Photo of deer with CWD courtesy of the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

The Alabama Department of Conservation reminds hunters that the importation of whole carcasses and certain body parts of any deer from any area outside of Alabama is prohibited. This includes all members of the family Cervidae, including but not limited to: white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer, and reindeer. The importation of body parts of any member of the family Cervidae is prohibited from all states, territories, or possessions of the United States and is also prohibited from all foreign countries.

Importation of the following is allowed: deer meat that has been completely deboned; cleaned skull plates with attached antlers, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; raw capes, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if no root structure or other soft tissue is present; and finished taxidermy products or tanned hides.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease of white-tailed deer and other deer species, including mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by a mutated protein called a prion. The disease is infectious, communicable, and always fatal for white-tailed deer. 

Once CWD arrives, infected deer serve as a reservoir for prions which will be shed into the environment in saliva, urine, blood, soft-antler material and feces. There are no known management strategies to lessen the risk of indirect transmission of CWD once an environment has been contaminated. This makes eradication of CWD very difficult, if not impossible.

Wildlife Section Chief Keith Gauldin says that Alabama has had a CWD surveillance program in place for white-tailed deer for many years. “Our wildlife biologists have continued to sample our deer herd throughout Alabama for CWD testing since 2001. To date, no deer has tested positive for CWD, and we are asking the public’s help to keep Alabama CWD free.”

Citizens can assist the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries with its CWD monitoring program by reporting any illegal transport of live deer or elk on Alabama's roads and highways. Call the Operation Game Watch line immediately at 1-800-272-4263 if you see live deer or elk being transported in Alabama.

Deer infected with CWD will behave abnormally, often showing little of their normal wariness or fear of humans. It is important to note that other diseases may cause deer to exhibit similar symptoms. If any deer are observed exhibiting this behavior, please contact the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries office nearest you or the Operation Game Watch line at 1-800-272-4263.

More Information on CWD

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