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Chronic Wasting Disease
 
Hunters Advised to Take Precautions

Mule deerThe Arizona Game and Fish Department is advising hunters harvesting meat from deer and elk in other states to take precautions.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk. It is in a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which include bovine spongiform encephalopathy in domestic cattle (also called "mad cow disease") and scrapie in domestic sheep and goats. Surveillance in Arizona has thus far shown that CWD is not present in our deer or elk populations. The Game and Fish Department has implemented steps to reduce the potential for this disease so that it doesn't establish itself in Arizona.

The department is concerned that CWD might be inadvertently brought into our state through the transport of infected animal tissues.

Precautions that should be taken before bringing any harvested animal back into Arizona include:

  • Bone out the meat and package (either commercially or privately); do not cut into the spinal cord or remove the head; do not quarter (or other method) the carcass with any of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Do not bring the brain, intact skull, or spinal cord back into Arizona.
  • If you wish to take the antlers attached to the skull plate, thoroughly scrape and clean tissue from the skull plate using a knife or brush and bleach. Thoroughly clean all utensils afterwards with bleach.
  • Animal skins or capes (without skull) do not need any further treatment.
  • Sawn-off antlers - with or without velvet - do not need further treatment.
  • Upper canine teeth of elk ("ivories") do not need further treatment.
  • Finished, taxidermied heads do not require further treatment.


There is no evidence that humans or animals other than deer and elk can get CWD. We are asking hunters to take precautions to protect Arizona's deer and elk herds from the disease.

In addition, the Department is asking for your assistance in monitoring for the disease. If you see deer or elk in poor condition, losing hair, with droopy ears, are stumbling or that have a slow reaction to your presence, call the department at 1-800-352-0700.

Additional information about chronic wasting disease is available from the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance and
Chronic Wasting Disease (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)

Learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
cdc.gov Use their search feature to search the site for Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance
cwd-info.org

Hunter Highlights - What Every Arizona Hunter Should Know
About Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) [PDF, 670kb]



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If you have any questions, or need any additional information on the emergency importation ban, please contact:

Chasa O'Brien, Research Branch Chief
Arizona Game and Fish Department WMRS
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000
(623) 236-7247

 
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External Resources [More]
- Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance
- Chronic Wasting Disease (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
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