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New York



Chronic Wasting Disease

What is CWD?

CWD is a contagious, fatal disease of deer, elk, moose, and caribou. It is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion, and animals become diseased from direct contact with live infected animals, carcass parts, or contaminated soil and plants. Infected deer can look healthy for months or years before dying but can shed infectious prions in saliva, feces, and urine for a long time before they die. There is no cure, vaccine, or genetic resistance to CWD. CWD could appear in New York if hunters aren't careful.

CWD Would Affect Deer Hunting in NY

Once CWD is established in an area, eliminating the disease is virtually impossible. To contain CWD spread and reduce its prevalence, local deer populations would need to be reduced through hunting and/or culling. Hunting practices would have to change, including mandatory testing of deer, restricted transport and disposal of deer carcasses, and increased harvest of young bucks. Hunters would be encouraged not to consume infected deer.

Don’t Be a CWD Risk!

Most hunters are trying to keep CWD out of New York, but the actions of a careless few can put all deer and moose at risk. The most likely modes of CWD introduction into New York are through: (1) illegal movement of infected carcasses or carcass parts of deer or elk taken by hunters in other states; (2) illegal import of live deer or elk for fee-based shooting of confined animals; or (3) use of infected urine-based lures by hunters.

You Can Help Keep NY CWD Free

Don't let CWD into New York. Know and follow the regulations and make sure other hunters do too:

Don't bring home infectious material – Debone your harvest if you hunt outside of New York

Meat, hide and cape, antlers, cleaned skull cap with antlers attached, finished taxidermy mounts, tanned hides, and cleaned upper canine teeth can be brought into New York. Hunters who improperly import whole carcasses or prohibited parts will be ticketed, and the entire animal (including antlers) will be confiscated and destroyed. If you have CWD-positive deboned meat from another state, DEC will assist with safe disposal of the animal and recommend disinfection methods.

Don’t contaminate your hunting spot – Avoid natural deer urine products

These products are made with urine from deer in captive deer facilities. If deer in those facilities are infected with CWD, the scent lures could contain the prions that cause CWD.

Keep New York deer wild and disease free – Do not feed wild deer

Feeding deer is illegal year-round. Concentrating deer around food sources can facilitate the spread of diseases like CWD.

Report sick and abnormal deer to DEC

DEC would like to examine any deer that are very thin, drooling, standing with legs splayed and head lowered, listless, circling, or are easily approached. Contact the DEC Regional Wildlife Office near you (see Important Numbers) or visit

Import Restrictions and Allowed Parts:

Hunters may not bring whole deer, elk, moose, or caribou into New York. You may only import:

  • Deboned meat
  • Cleaned skull cap
  • Antlers with no flesh
  • Raw or processed cape or hide
  • Cleaned teeth or lower jaw
  • Finished taxidermy products

For information on how to bone-out deer meat to remove high-risk tissues, visit the CWD Alliance: