Temporary Rules Proposed in North Carolina Following First Case of CWD-Positive Deer in the State

Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Director

  • In March 31, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) confirmed that a deer in Yadkin County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which was the first detection of CWD in the state.
  • On April 12, the Executive Director of the WRC invoked emergency powers to activate a response plan in order to address said detection.
  • On April 19, the WRC proposed temporary rules which would replace the emergency powers to further combat CWD’s impact on North Carolina’s deer herd.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) encourages legislators to work with their fish and wildlife agency to determine what protections are needed to prevent the spread of CWD.

Why It Matters: CWD is a slow and progressive neurological disease affecting cervids that has proven to be fatal.  CWD has the potential to disrupt hunting traditions and the hunting economy in North Carolina, as well as negatively impact conservation funding for the WRC. In North Carolina, deer hunting is the primary driver for hunting license sales.

The temporary rules proposed by the WRC in direct response to the detection of CWD include:

  • Establishing a Surveillance Area, which is defined to include Primary Surveillance Area (five-mile radius around a new CWD detection) and the Secondary Surveillance Area (five to 30-mile radius around a new CWD detection as delineated by the WRC), in Yadkin County;
  • Prohibiting baiting in the Surveillance Area January 2 – August 31;
  • Prohibiting the export of a live cervid, cervid carcass, or carcass parts that originate from within the Surveillance Area, with exceptions;
  • Prohibiting deer rehabilitation in the Surveillance Area;
  • Prohibiting the transport of fawns that originate from within the Surveillance Area outside the Surveillance Area;
  • Requiring hunters who harvest a deer in the Primary Surveillance Area during the blackpowder or all lawful weapons season to submit a sample to the WRC for CWD testing; and
  • Requiring hunters who harvest a deer in the Secondary Surveillance Area during the blackpowder season and from opening day through the second Sunday of all lawful weapons season to submit a sample to the WRC for CWD testing.

The WRC is hosting a public hearing to discuss these rule proposals on May 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the WRC Headquarters in Raleigh. The meeting may also be attended virtually.

Comments are due by May 20, and comments can be submitted online or by email to regulations@ncwildlife.org

More information about CWD, including the WRC’s CWD Response Plan, can be accessed here: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Chronic-Wasting-Disease

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