Deer Hunting CWD

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CWD Surveillance in Virginia

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an infectious, fatal, neurologic disease of deer. Since 2009, a total of 67 CWD-positive deer have been detected in Virginia in western Frederick and northern Shenandoah counties. In fall 2018, CWD was detected for the first time in a single deer in Culpeper County.

Disease Management Area Boundaries

The boundaries of Disease Management Area 1 (DMA1), formerly known as the CWD Containment Area, include all of Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Clarke counties. DMA2 includes all of Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties.

CWD Testing in DMA1

All deer killed in Shenandoah County on November 16 must be brought to a designated CWD sample station for testing. There will be no mandatory CWD testing in Clarke, Frederick, or Warren counties in fall 2019.

  • Sample station hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • CWD sample stations include: Graden’s Supermarket, Larkin’s Store, and Town & County.
  • Deer killed any day of the season in DMA1 may be tested for CWD by dropping off the head plus 4 inches of neck at a CWD deer head drop location and following posted instructions. Deer head drop locations include: North Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company 19 in Winchester, the Winchester-Frederick County Conservation Club, the Enders Fire Department in Berryville, the Elks Lodge in Front Royal, the South Warren Volunteer Fire Department in Bentonville, and the Department of Forestry in Edinburg.

CWD Testing in DMA2

All deer killed in Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties on November 16 must be brought to a designated CWD sample station for testing.

  • CWD sample station hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • CWD sample stations include: Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Dept., Germanna Gas & Food Mart, Merrimac Grocery & Sports Shop, and Reuwers Grocery in Culpeper County; Hidden Pines Deer Processing and The Little County Store in Madison County; Baker’s Store, The Market at Locust Grove, Rollins Meat Processing, and Somerset Center Store in Orange County.
  • Deer killed any day of the season in DMA2 may be tested for CWD by dropping off the head plus 4 inches of neck at a CWD deer head drop location and following posted instructions. Deer head drop locations include: Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Dept., Eppards Processing, George Washington Carver Agricultural Research Center, Hidden Pines Deer Processing, Merrimac Grocery & Sports Shop, and The Market at Locust Grove.

Whole Deer Carcass Transport Into and Within a DMA

Whole deer carcasses originating in Virginia but not from within a DMA can be legally transported into a DMA. Whole deer carcasses originating within a DMA may be transported only to other locations within that same DMA.

Whole Deer Carcass Transport Out of a DMA

To prevent the spread of CWD, whole deer carcasses and high-risk deer parts cannot be transported out of a DMA. Carcass parts allowed to be transported out of a DMA include:

  • Boned out meat.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Hides and capes with no heads attached.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skulls and skull plates with or without antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as “buglers,” “whistlers,” or “ivories.”
  • Finished taxidermy products.

Out-of-State Whole Deer Carcass Importation Prohibited

To prevent the introduction of CWD into new areas of Virginia, importation or possession of whole deer carcasses, or any parts of a carcass not included in the list above, originating from anywhere outside of Virginia are prohibited. This includes all members of the deer family – white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, etc. The carcass parts listed above may be legally imported and possessed.

Packages or containers holding allowed carcass parts shall have affixed a legible label stating the following information: the species of animal, the state or province where the animal originated, and the name and address of the person who killed or possesses the allowed parts of the animal in Virginia. Any person who imports into Virginia any deer 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 the notification.

Carcass Disposal Recommendations

All hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of deer carcass remains in local designated dumpsters, lined landfills, or using regular trash pick-up that will eventually be taken to a landfill. See the agency website listed below for dumpster locations in DMA1 and DMA2. If it is necessary to bury a carcass, hunters are advised to bury it as close to the kill site as possible and deep enough to prevent scavengers from digging it up.

What Hunters Can Do to Help Fight CWD

  • Keep hunting
  • Avoid long-distance movements of a whole deer carcass
  • Don’t discard leftover deer carcass parts on the landscape –dispose in a landfill or bury
  • Don’t feed the deer and remove mineral licks
  • Have deer harvested in a DMA tested for CWD

For more information on CWD in Virginia, go to:


Natural Deer Lures/Scents Prohibited

It is illegal to possess or use deer scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.


Reducing Lead Exposure

Bald eagle populations may have rebounded from historical bounties, habitat loss, and exposure to DDT, but they now face a newly recognized challenge: lead poisoning from ingestion of contaminated carcasses and gut piles left in the field by hunters. The effects of lead poisoning are not limited to bald eagles but also extend to golden eagles, vultures, ravens, and other species.

Why is there lead in carcasses and gut piles?

Bullets, especially those fired from high-powered rifles, leave fragments throughout a carcass anywhere from 2 to 18 inches away from the wound tract. Up to 55% of the fragments are found embedded in the internal organs and are thus available for consumption by scavengers feeding on gut piles; 90% of deer gut piles examined in Wyoming and California between 2002 and 2004 were found to be contaminated with lead fragments.

What happens to scavenging birds that ingest lead from a carcass or gut pile?

Eagles and other birds that consume enough lead to become clinically ill may exhibit weight loss, seizures, paralysis, inability to fly, weakness (droopy head and wing), impaired reproduction, and/or death. Once lead reaches toxic levels, clinical signs will not resolve without medical intervention, which is not practical in wild birds.

What can hunters do to minimize lead exposure in wildlife and humans?

As dedicated conservationists, hunters can reduce lead exposure in the environment by using non-toxic, non-lead ammunition alternatives, such as copper or copper alloys. Other practices such as burying or removing gut piles from the field can reduce lead intake by scavengers. Gut piles should be buried and then covered with rocks or brush to prevent animals from digging them up. Leftover carcass parts should also be either buried, or double-bagged and taken to a landfill, or covered with rocks or brush to prevent access by scavengers. Human exposure to lead at the dinner table can be reduced by liberally trimming meat from both the entrance and exit wounds and avoiding consumption of internal organs.