Deer Hunting CWD
CWD Surveillance in Virginia
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious, fatal, neurologic disease of deer. Since 2009, a total of 84 CWD-positive deer have been detected in Virginia in Frederick and northern Shenandoah counties. An additional four CWD-positive deer have been detected in Clarke (2), Culpeper (1), and Fauquier (1) counties. The success of the Department’s CWD surveillance and management efforts hinge directly on hunter participation. DWR greatly appreciates hunters’ cooperation and assistance in this effort.
Disease Management Area Boundaries
In 2020, Disease Management Area 1 (DMA1) will include Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Clarke counties. DMA2 will include Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, and Rappahannock counties.
CWD Testing in DMA1
All deer killed in Shenandoah County on November 14 must be brought to a designated CWD sample station for testing. This sample effort may be affected by COVID-19 so please check www.virginiawildlife.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd for updates. There will be no mandatory CWD testing in Clarke, Frederick, or Warren counties in fall 2020.
- 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 refrigerator and following posted instructions. Fridges are located at 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, and the Department of Forestry in Edinburg.
CWD Testing in DMA2
All deer killed in Culpeper and Madison counties on November 14 must be brought to a designated CWD sample station for testing. This sample effort may be affected by COVID-19 so please check www.virginiawildlife.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd for updates. There will be no mandatory CWD testing in Fauquier, Loudoun, Orange, Page, or Rappahannock counties in fall 2020.
- CWD sample station hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- CWD sample stations include: Baker’s Store, Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department, Hidden Pines Deer Processing, Merrimac Grocery & Sports Shop, and Reuwers Grocery.
- Deer killed any day of the season 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 Department and Merrimac Grocery & Sports Shop in Culpeper County; Glascock Grocery & Nick’s Deli and Nick’s Country Market & Deli in Fauquier County; Philomont General Store in Loudoun County; Hidden Pines Deer Processing in Madison County; Eppards Processing and The Market at Locust Grove in Orange County; Stanley Volunteer Fire Department in Page County; Washington Volunteer Fire Department in Rappahannock County.
Whole Deer Carcass Transport From a DMA to a Non-DMA County Prohibited
Whole deer carcasses originating from within a DMA cannot be transported into a non-DMA county. Carcass parts allowed to be transported out of a DMA into a non-DMA county 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.
Whole Deer Carcass Transport Into and Within DMAs
Whole deer carcasses can spread CWD! Whole deer carcasses, and parts containing brain or spinal cord tissue, originating from DMA1 may be transported anywhere within DMA1 only. Whole deer carcasses, and parts containing brain or spinal cord tissue, originating from DMA2 may be transported anywhere within both DMA1 and DMA2. See list above for carcass parts that can be legally transported out of any DMA to anywhere in Virginia. Whole deer carcasses (and all associated carcass parts) harvested in a non-DMA county in Virginia may be legally transported anywhere in Virginia.
Out-of-State Whole Deer Carcass Importation Prohibited
Importation or possession of whole deer carcasses originating from anywhere outside of Virginia are prohibited. This includes all members of the deer family, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, etc. See list above for deer carcass parts originating from anywhere that can be legally imported and possessed in Virginia.
A legible label shall be affixed to packages or containers holding the allowed carcass parts with the following information: the species of animal, the state or province from 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 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 disposal options 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.
Deer Feeding Prohibitions
Feeding of deer is prohibited year-round in Albemarle, Buchanan, Clarke, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, and Wise counties, and all cities and towns within these counties.
Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia
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.
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
- Get deer harvested in a DMA tested for CWD
For more information on CWD in Virginia, go to:
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.
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.