MONTPELIER, Vt. – Hunters traveling outside Vermont to hunt deer or elk need to keep in mind that a regulation designed to protect Vermont’s wild deer from chronic wasting disease remains in effect, according to a reminder from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal disease of the brain and nervous system in deer and elk. Abnormal prion proteins produce lesions in the brain that cause disorientation and emaciation in conjunction with other abnormal behaviors. This highly contagious disease is always fatal to deer. For the latest information on CWD, check these websites: www.vtfishandwildlife.com and www.cwd-info.org.
The potential exists for CWD prion proteins to be introduced to the environment through the bodily fluids of CWD-positive deer, elk, or moose and then persist in the environment for extended periods of time.
It is illegal to import or possess deer or elk, or parts of deer or elk, from states and Canadian provinces that have had chronic wasting disease, or from captive hunt or farm facilities with the following exceptions: meat that is cut up, packaged, and labeled with hunting license information and not mixed with other deer or elk during processing; meat that is boneless; hides or capes with no part of the head attached; clean skull-cap with antlers attached; antlers with no other meat or tissue attached; finished taxidermy heads; and upper canine teeth with no tissue attached.
Vermont’s CWD importation regulations currently apply to hunters bringing in deer or elk carcasses from the following states and provinces that have detected CWD in either captive or wild animals: Alberta, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
“CWD is a very persistent disease that can resurface after years of absence,” said Mark Scott, Vermont’s director of wildlife. “Vermont’s CWD regulation is designed to help prevent CWD from infecting Vermont’s deer and the drastic population reduction measures that would be required if it appears here.”
Hunters bringing deer or elk from any of the CWD-listed states or provinces into or through Vermont simply have to get them processed according to the regulation before doing so. A fine of up to $1,000 and loss of hunting and fishing licenses for one year are applicable for each deer or elk imported illegally.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife is also reminding hunters that using any type of natural deer urine-based or deer body fluid attractant scents is prohibited in the state because of the CWD threat.