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Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, red deer, moose, and caribou. It is infectious, always fatal, and has no known treatment. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue, which leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation, and death of the animal.

 

What is LDWF doing about CWD?

LDWF continues to monitor and test the state’s white-tailed deer population for CWD. It has not yet been found in Louisiana, but Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi have documented it in their deer populations.

If CWD is discovered in Louisiana, LDWF will create a management zone, the size of which will depend on the location and distribution of infected deer as well as the density, distribution, and seasonal movements of the local deer population. There will be feeding and baiting restrictions in the management zone where the disease is found. There also will be movement restrictions on deer body parts. Hunters will not be able to bring whole deer out from the management zone. They’ll be restricted to deboned meat, a clean skull plate with antlers, and the cape, which is the skin of the head and shoulders. Any deer harvested within the management zone will be tested. LDWF will maintain intensive surveillance in the management zone for an indefinite period of time.

Cervid Carcass Importation Regulation

Effective March 1, 2017, no person shall import, transport, or possess any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass originating outside of Louisiana, except:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped
  • Meat that has been boned out
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  • Antlers
  • Clean skull plates with antlers
  • Cleaned skulls without tissue attached
  • Capes
  • Tanned hides
  • Finished taxidermy mounts
  • Cleaned cervid teeth

Any and all bones shall be disposed of in a manner where its final destination is an approved landfill or equivalent.

Deer Caping Demonstration


 

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