Precautions for Deer Hunters in Areas with Chronic Wasting Disease

I am a deer hunter. Now that chronic wasting disease has been found in the state, are there any precautions I should take?
Precautions for Deer Hunters in Areas with Chronic Wasting Disease - Articles

Updated: September 8, 2017

Precautions for Deer Hunters in Areas with Chronic Wasting Disease

The following precautions are advised for hunters in areas where CWD is known to exist:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • Contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission if you see or harvest an animal that appears sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing your deer.
  • Bone out the meat from your animal. Don't saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from your animal.
  • Have your animal processed in the same area of the state where it was harvested so that high-risk body parts can be properly disposed of there. If you hunt out of state, only bring permitted materials back to Pennsylvania
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes).
  • Avoid consuming the meat from any animal that tests positive for the disease.

For information on Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania:

PA Game Commission's page of Chronic Wasting Disease