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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

A Threat to Vermont’s Deer Herd

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a serious threat to Vermont’s deer and moose populations. It is fatal to deer and is impossible to eliminate once it has been established in a population. While CWD is not known to be transmissible to humans, it has been devastating to free-ranging deer in many states and Canadian provinces. In some parts of Wisconsin more than 50 percent of adult bucks now have the disease.

Prevention of CWD is key. If CWD is ever discovered in a new area such as Vermont, wildlife officials must work immediately to stop it from spreading further. You can help by learning the signs of CWD and reporting sick deer to your local game warden or by calling Vermont Fish & Wildlife at 802-828-1000. Deer infected with CWD are usually weak and skinny. Other symptoms include excessive drinking and urination, drooling, listlessness, drooping ears and lowered head.

There is no reliable live-test for CWD, and infected animals can appear healthy for years. This disease continues to spread over long distances by the movement of captive deer and elk involved in the captive deer and elk industry. Captive white-tailed deer and moose are prohibited in Vermont and the Agency of Agriculture closely regulates other captive deer and elk facilities.

It is illegal to feed or bait deer in Vermont. Deer that are fed gather in large numbers and can quickly spread CWD and other diseases.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has been testing Vermont deer for CWD since 2002. Results indicate that Vermont is currently free of CWD.


Restrictions apply for the importation of deer or elk carcasses or parts from states or provinces that have, or have had, CWD. To date, the disease has been documented in 30 states and 4 Canadian provinces including New York State. New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts have not documented CWD. Quebec has recently confirmed CWD in a captive red deer facility and is now on the list of states and provinces from which it is illegal to import deer carcasses or parts. It is illegal to import deer or moose carcasses or parts from New York, Quebec, and all other states and provinces on the list. See Importing in Big Game Hunting for details.

Urine Lures

It is illegal to use deer urine lures. They present a serious threat of introducing CWD to Vermont. CWD infectious prions can be present in deer urine lures. Use synthetic alternatives instead.

States with CWD

The Following States & Provinces Have or Have Had CWD

States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Provinces: Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan

Others may be added throughout the year.