RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Chronic Wasting Disease in deer was first reported in North Carolina in March, and it will have some impact on the upcoming hunting season.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has held meetings to get your feedback as it initiates temporary rule-making because of detecting CWD in the state.
However, one piece of good news is that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reports that no additional positive cases of Chronic Wasting Disease were detected during the 2021-2022 deer harvest.
The one positive case was in Yadkin County.
What that one positive case means though, is there will now be new rules and restrictions for the coming deer season along with surveillance areas, as the CWD Response Plan was activated.
Some of those restrictions impact baiting and feeding if there is a confirmed case among “free-ranging” deer.
One of those restrictions would “prohibit the intentional baiting and feeding of free-ranging” deer in the “primary CWD surveillance area and secondary CWD surveillance area,” according to official plan documents. However, this wouldn’t begin during an ongoing deer hunting season, according to official documents.
Deer Biologist Moriah Boggess with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission shared when wildlife feeding is prohibited and when it’s allowed for the upcoming hunting season.
“Wildlife feeding between January 2 and August 31 is prohibited within surveillance areas to avoid unnecessarily congregating deer around feed sites which could increase CWD transmission rates via direct animal contact and contaminated surfaces,” Boggess explained. “Baiting is currently allowed during hunting season.”
Boggess said that although there is “no way to completely stop disease transmission because deer are such social animals, this is one human behavior we can change so that we are not contributing to disease transmission.”
These primary and secondary surveillance areas will impact more than just baiting and feeding, they’ll also impact hunters who harvest from those designated areas.
There’s a regulation change for hunters that harvest deer in the surveillance zones as well that impacts deer carcass transportation.
“No deer carcasses may be moved out of the PSA or out of the SSA. There are a few exceptions to this rule including: deboned meat, caped hides, antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates or skulls, cleaned lower jawbones, and finished taxidermy products which may be transported out of these areas,” Boggess said.
Deer carcasses can also be transported if it is double bagged and being taken to a Cervid health Cooperator: “[d]eer carcasses or carcass parts that are double bagged may also be transported from within the PSA to any cooperating Cervid health Cooperator in Yadkin or Surry County,” Boggess explained.
Another impact to hunters will be a requirement of testing for Chronic Wasting Disease of any legally harvested deer that was within the different surveillance areas. And this will help in knowing how CWD is impacting the deer population.
“The first step in tackling long-term CWD management is understanding where the disease is and how much of the deer population is affected. The Wildlife Commission is ramping up its testing of hunter harvested deer in the surveillance areas this fall, and mandatory sampling was put in place to maximize those efforts,” Boggess said. “A sample from all deer harvested in the surveillance areas during black powder and all or part of gun season must be submitted to the Wildlife Commission for testing.”
And according to the state’s plan, there will be CWD testing options for hunters who harvested deer outside of the primary or secondary surveillance areas.
“We will continue to test deer statewide as routine surveillance for CWD. It is important statewide surveillance continues so that if the disease is elsewhere in the state we detect it just as we did in Yadkin County. Testing is available to hunters statewide throughout hunting season at testing drop-off stations,” Boggess explained.
Hunters will be able to take any harvested deer to a North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission depot, or another designated site, to get testing for Chronic Wasting Disease. You can find more information on this here.