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DEC asks for help from hunters to reduce risk of Chronic Wasting Disease

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking hunters around the state to take steps to avoid the spread of chronic wasting disease.

A DEC news release said the disease was discovered at a deer farm in Pennsylvania, and in early 2013, the disease was confirmed in Pennsylvania’s wild white-tailed deer herd.

Chronic wasting disease is highly contagious, and infects the brain and nervous systems of deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. The disease is always fatal, DEC said, and no vaccines or treatments are available. There is no evidence that the disease affects humans, but people are asked to use caution when handling parts known to be infected with the disease.

The state has not had any verified cases since the initial discovery in Oneida County in 2005.

Hunters are asked to know the state’s regulations regarding the disease before they return home from a hunt, and know that it is illegal to bring in whole carcasses from any susceptible animal taken at a shooting preserve or to bring in whole carcasses from any state or province that has had the disease confirmed in wild or captive cervid herds.

The DEC release said that though it is illegal to ship the unprocessed trophy head from those preserves, it is legal to import a mounted head.

The release recommended that hunters dispose of any cervid carcass waste, even from New York deer, into a proper waste stream, either by putting butcher scrap in with household trash or otherwise ensuring it ends up in a licensed landfill. It also suggested that hunters do not use real deer urine lures, as the disease can be transmitted through it. Instead, it suggested that hunters use synthetic urine lures.

A full list of animal parts that cannot be brought into the state can be found at http://wdt.me/NyfC3F.

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