The Department of Environmental Conservation reports there were no new case of chronic wasting disease during the 2014-2015 season.
More than 2,400 whitetail deer were tested for CWD during the 2014-15 season and none of them tested positive for the disease. CWD affects animals in the deer family and is always fatal. It is spread through urine, saliva and feces infecting soil. The contaminated soil can remain active for transmitting infection for years. It can also be spread through direct contact between two animals.
“Preventing the introduction of CWD into New York is a high priority for DEC to ensure the health of our wild deer herd and to protect the recreational and viewing opportunities deer provide …Hunters can play an important role in keeping CWD out of the state and in keeping our deer herd healthy. The most effective way to protect New York’s deer herd is to keep CWD infectious material out of the state,” said Commissioner Joe Martens.
The NYS-DEC has been testing deer since 2002. In 2005, CWD was found in captive and wild deer in Oneida County in Northern New York. Each year the DEC works with taxidermists and meat processors to obtain samples for testing. During the 2014-15 season, 86 deer actually appeared sick but did not test positive for CWD.
The DEC urges hunters not to use deer urine as a cover scent or lure since the urine is collected from penned deer and cannot be tested. Also, deer should be disposed of in an authorized landfill. Putting carcasses in regular trash bags for pickup is permissible and safe to do.
Hunters who harvest deer and other cervids may only bring back meat, hide and antlers. No other parts of the animal may be brought into New York State or it is subject to confiscation and possible fines. Big Game Import Restrictions for New York State can be viewed on the DEC website.
CWD has never been detected in humans, however precautions when handling deer carcasses is advised.