Effective July 1, 2018, two Eastern Panhandle counties were be added to three that already have restrictions on the disposal and transport of deer carcasses. The restrictions are designed to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Berkeley and Mineral counties have been added to Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties as areas where restrictions apply.
Current research indicates that the abnormal protein which causes CWD, called a prion, is concentrated in the spinal cord and brain of infected deer. As a result, certain carcass parts have the potential to spread the disease.
“As part of our agency’s ongoing efforts to detect the presence of CWD and focus on disease management actions, a larger portion of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle has been added to the current area where restrictions apply,” said Stephen McDaniel, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
This expansion is in response to the detection of CWD in two road-killed deer in Berkeley County and one sick deer in Mineral County. Since 2005, CWD has been detected in 340 deer in Hampshire County, six deer in Hardy County, two deer in Berkeley County, and one deer in Mineral County.
Hunters are reminded that dead deer or their parts may not be transported beyond the boundary of Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, and Morgan counties except for the following: meat that has been boned out, quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, cleaned hide with no head attached, clean skull plate (no meat or tissue attached) with antlers attached, antlers with no meat or tissue attached, and finished taxidermy mounts. Hunters may transport deer carcasses that were not killed inside the containment area through the containment area.
Research also indicates supplemental feeding and baiting of deer increases the chance of disease transmission far above the normal clustering of deer on natural and agricultural feeding areas. Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral and Morgan counties have been under a ban on baiting or feeding deer since 2015. Reducing the number of times infected and non-infected animals congregate by prohibiting supplemental feeding and baiting are generally accepted management practices for slowing the spread of an infectious disease among wildlife.
The West Virginia DNR will continue to update management actions designed to control the spread of this disease and prevent further introduction to new areas as information from deer testing within West Virginia is gathered and scientists across the country provide more information on how to combat CWD in white-tailed deer.
For additional information on deer baiting and feeding prohibitions and deer carcass transport restrictions, please see the 2018-2019 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, soon to be available at DNR offices and license agents and at ww.wvdnr.gov.