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Deer & Moose

Chronic Wasting Disease

Transportation of Certain Wildlife Into Maine From Outside of the State

Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD is a fatal brain disease of white-tailed deer, mule deer, caribou, moose and elk. It occurs in numerous western states and Canadian Provinces as well as Virginia, New York State and Pennsylvania. Where it is established, CWD can be very destructive to local deer, caribou, moose and elk herds, as well as to the hunting economies these populations support. Although there is no known link between CWD and any human disease, health officials advise against consuming meat from CWD-infected deer. The CWD disease agent, a type of protein, accumulates in certain high-risk tissues in a sick deer, caribou, moose or elk’s body. These include: the brain, spinal cord, spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, eyes, saliva, urine, and feces. Deer meat is not known to harbor the disease agent, unless it is contaminated by other high-risk tissues.

In Maine, we have been monitoring for the presence of CWD in wild and captive deer since 1999. To date, no CWD diseased animals have been detected. To keep Maine free of CWD, the Department of Agriculture (captive deer and elk) and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (white-tailed deer) are actively working to prevent the introduction of CWD. Here’s how hunters can help:

Urine-based Deer Lures

At this time, we do not know whether any captive/farmed deer or elk used by the lure industry have ever contracted CWD. To date, urine-based deer lures are not being checked for the presence of CWD proteins. Until more is known about whether commercial deer lures pose a risk of spreading CWD, we recommend that hunters use caution in spreading urine-based lures in the environment, and avoid placing the lures on their clothing or skin. Avoid placing deer lures on the ground or on vegetation where deer can reach them. Deer lures can be safely placed above deer height, allowing air circulation to disperse the scent.

It is illegal for individuals to bring into Maine cervid carcasses or parts, except that the following carcass parts may be imported and possessed:

  • boned-out meat;
  • hardened antlers;
  • skull caps that have been cleaned free of brain and other tissues;
  • capes and hides with no skull attached;
  • teeth, and
  • finished taxidermy mounts.

Note: Cervid carcasses or parts from New Hampshire and provinces of New Brunswick, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Quebec are exempt from this transportation restriction.

This transportation restriction applies to both any cervid wild by nature and to any cervid killed in a commercial hunting preserve, that are taken in any state, province, or country outside of Maine. Any person who imports into Maine any cervid carcass or parts described above and is notified that the animal has tested positive for CWD must report the test results to the Department within 72 hours of receiving notification.

It is legal for individuals to transport through the state of Maine cervid carcasses or parts destined for other states, provinces, and countries. Such transportation is to occur without undue delay and using the most reasonably direct route through Maine to the final destination for the cervid carcass or parts and in a manner that is both leak-proof and that prevents their exposure to the environment.

More detailed information about CWD can be found on the Department web site:, or contact us at (207) 287-8000.

Department Check Stations

Our wildlife biologists collect information that is valuable in determining regional deer herd productivity and condition and figuring sex and age ratios. You will receive facts and figures from last year’s season, and the information you provide will be a basis for management decisions to be made next year. We would appreciate your participation whether you are successful or not.

Caution on Liver & Kidney Consumption

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the liver and kidneys of moose not be eaten because of possible contamination with the heavy metal cadmium. Also, recent studies have shown smaller amounts of cadmium in liver tissues from Maine deer, and deer, elk and antelope from other States. Maine health officials recommend that deer liver consumption be limited to 0.8 pounds in one sitting and 1 to 113 pounds per week. Human symptoms of acute cadmium poisoning include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps and salivation. There is no known health risk from eating moose meat or deer meat.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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