Game Commission expands CWD rules

Pennsylvanians who harvest deer anywhere in New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia no longer may bring them home without first removing the carcass parts with the highest risk of transmitting chronic wasting disease (CWD). As part of the fight to slow the spread of CWD in the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has updated its executive order prohibiting the importation of high-risk deer parts into Pennsylvania.

While the order has always prohibited whole deer from being brought into Pennsylvania from most U.S. states and Canadian provinces where CWD exists, it previously permitted deer harvested in New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia to be brought in, so long as the deer weren’t reported to have been harvested in any county where CWD has been detected.

The updated order gives Pennsylvania’s free-ranging deer better protection, said Executive Director Bryan Burhans.

Now that the updated order has taken effect, there are a total of 24 states and two Canadian provinces from which high-risk cervid parts cannot be imported into Pennsylvania.

The parts ban affects hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose, mule deer and other cervids in: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Those harvesting cervids in the identified states and provinces must leave behind the carcass parts that have the highest risk for transmitting CWD. Those parts are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and any lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft tissue is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord tissue; unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides.

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