A white-tailed deer born and raised in captivity in Pennsylvania has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), prompting the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to implement restrictions regarding importing deer heads from Pennsylvania. As a result, North Carolina taxidermists no longer can accept full deer heads for mounts from Pennsylvania and must inform wildlife officers if they receive one.
In addition, anyone bringing a deer from Pennsylvania, or the 20 other states or two Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected, must follow North Carolina processing and packaging regulations.
CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). It is a progressive, fatal disease that often results in altered behavior as a result of small changes in the brain of affected animals.
There has been no documented case of humans contracting CWD or a CWD-like disease from deer. The World Health Organization states there is no scientific evidence that CWD can infect humans. The Wildlife Commission nonetheless recommends that people follow these consumption guidelines:
- Do not eat meat from a deer that looks sick; and,
- Do not eat any of these organs from a deer: brain, eyeballs, spinal cord, spleen and lymph nodes.
States where CWD has been detected are North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Utah, West Virginia, New York, Kansas, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, Texas and, now, Pennsylvania. It also has been detected in Canada’s Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces.
The Wildlife Commission tested about 1,400 free-ranging white-tailed deer in this state in 2009, and found no CWD.
Taxidermists should call the Commission at 1-800-662-7137 to report receipt of a full deer head from Pennsylvania or other CWD-positive states and provinces.