Chronic Wasting Disease still a concern, WFF monitoring across the state

Alabama News

ALABAMA (WHNT) — Deer season is approaching and the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries voiced their concern regarding chronic wasting disease, a highly infectious disease that has been reported in a few southern states.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a highly infectious disease spread by malformed proteins called prions, like those that cause mad cow disease. Positive cases have been reported in Mississippi and Tennessee so far.

The WFF asks Alabama hunters to drop off their deer heads at self-service sample stations that are located throughout the state so they can test those samples for CWD. You can find a map of the locations here.

“We wish the hunters would participate more with their volunteer drop-offs at our freezer locations,” WFF Director Chuck Sykes said in a statement.

Here’s what you need to do:

Hunters must remove the deer’s head with 4-6 inches of neck attached. For bucks, antlers can be removed at the base of each antler or by removing the skull plate before bagging the head. Hunters place the head in the provided plastic bag, tie it closed, and place it in the freezer.

Then, they will need to complete all sections of the Biological Sample Tag and attach the tag to the bag with a zip tie. Hunters will take the bottom receipt portion of the Biological Sample Tag before placing the bagged head in the freezer. All materials needed to drop off a sample are provided at each location.

Alabama has not had a case of CWD confirmed but the WFF plans to stay vigilant to prevent the spread, “Our biologists are still sampling deer, and our enforcement officers are still patrolling the roads to keep people from bringing deer carcasses into the state,” Sykes said.

“It’s inched a mile or two closer to us, but we’ve got several miles to go, and we have a major river system as a barrier. I think we’re as fortunate as we can be right now on the CWD front,” Sykes said.

Although you cannot transport deer carcasses across state lines, regulations do allow for the importation of certain parts of the deer. Permitted parts include:

  • Meat from the family Cervidae (white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, fallow deer, red deer, sika deer, caribou, etc.) that has been completely deboned
  • Cleaned skull plates with attached antlers if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present
  • Unattached antlers or sheds
  • Raw capes if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present
  • Teeth if no root structure or other soft tissue is present
  • Finished taxidermy products or tanned hide

The WFF asks that hunters participate in these CWD sample stations and they will continue to do their best to keep the state and its wildlife safe.

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