Why It Matters: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an always fatal neurologic disease caused by an environmentally resilient, infectious protein called a prion that infects both farmed and free ranging cervids. CWD was first discovered in Colorado during the late 1960s and was subsequently detected in wild deer in 1981. Although CWD was first detected in Western cervid populations, it is rapidly moving Eastward and currently has now been detected in 31 states and has the potential to impact the time-honored tradition of deer hunting in North Carolina.
- Earlier this year, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) confirmed that deer tested positive for CWD in Cumberland County and Wilkes County. This news comes on the heels of North Carolina’s first deer testing positive for CWD in March 2022.
- Expanding on proactive measures the NCWRC took last year to combat the spread of CWD in the state, the NCWRC issued five temporary CWD regulations in March 2023 in response to the new cases to regulate activities that aid in the transmission of CWD.
- The NCWRC now seeks to replace 2 temporary rules with permanent rules to establish a more permanent response plan to protect the state’s deer herd.
The permanent rules proposed by the NCWRC include:
- Establishing CWD Surveillance Areas in new counties. Surveillance Areas are defined as a county delineated by the NCWRC where CWD has been determined to be endemic (Primary Surveillance Area) or a county adjacent to a Primary Surveillance Area (Secondary Surveillance Area);
- Prohibiting baiting January 2 through August 31 in Surveillance Areas;
- Prohibiting deer fawn rehabilitation in Surveillance Areas;
- Prohibiting deer fawns originating within a Surveillance Area from being transported out of the Surveillance Area;
- Prohibiting carcass or carcass parts originating from inside a Surveillance Area from being transported outside of the county of origin, with exceptions; and
- Prohibiting the possession and use of any excretion, including feces, urine, blood, gland oil, or other bodily fluids used to take, attract, or scout wildlife within the Surveillance Area, with exceptions.
The NCWRC is hosting a public hearing on September 21 at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed rules. The meeting will be held virtually via an online webinar. Registration can be found here and is required.
Online comments can be submitted via an online survey or can be emailed to email@example.com. Written mail can be sent to: Rulemaking Coordinator, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701. The public comment period ends October 16.
To stay up to date on CWD in North Carolina, visit https://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Chronic-Wasting-Disease.