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Chronic Wasting Disease (Deer)

 

Overview of CWD

What is CWD?

  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological (brain and central nervous system) disease that affects members of the deer family including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and caribou.
  • It is caused by naturally occurring proteins, called prions, that become misfolded, creating holes in brain tissue and resulting in eventual death
  • CWD is spread through direct animal-to-animal contact or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, carcass parts of an infected animal, or contaminated materials in the environment (plants and soil).
  • Prions released into the environment through bodily fluids or diseased carcasses are extremely resistant to degradation and can remain infectious for years.
  • Once an animal is infected there is no recovery or cure for CWD.

Where has CWD Been Found?

  • CWD has been confirmed in 29 states, 4 Canadian provinces, Finland, Norway, and South Korea
  • The first confirmed case of CWD in Ohio was found in a captive deer at a shooting preserve in Holmes County in 2014. Since then, 24 additional deer from three other captive facilities in Holmes and Wayne counties have tested positive for CWD.
  • Since 2002, more than 30,000 wild deer (including nearly 2,500 in the Holmes County region) have been tested for CWD statewide.
  • Ohio confirmed its first and second CWD-positive wild deer in late 2020 and early 2021 in Wyandot County.
  • During the 2021-22 deer season, an additional eight deer tested positive for CWD in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties.



CWD in Ohio

In fall of 2020, a free-ranging white-tailed deer, a mature buck, was harvested in southern Wyandot County, sampled by a taxidermist as part of our long-standing CWD surveillance program, and subsequently confirmed positive for CWD. A second CWD-positive deer, a yearling doe, was harvested as part of a controlled hunt on Killdeer Plains Refuge in January 2021. Subsequent testing in the 2021-22 hunting season confirmed an additional eight CWD-positive deer in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties.



Disease Surveillance Areas and Regulations

List of Disease Surveillance Areas [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area Regulations [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area 2021-01 (Revised 3/22) [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area Regulations and Sampling Locations (revised 07/21) [pdf]

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife announced in June 2021 that it has enacted a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA 2021-01) in all of Wyandot and portions of Marion and Hardin counties following the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in two wild white-tailed deer harvested during the 2020-21 hunting season. Subsequent testing in the 2021-22 hunting season confirmed an additional eight CWD-positive deer in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties. Given the likelihood of established disease, spatial distribution of confirmed positives, an agricultural landscape that facilitates long-distance dispersal, as well as a desire to promulgate DSA-specific harvest regulations at the county level, the DSA was expanded in February 2022 to include the entirety of Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion counties.

DSA 2021-01 is comprised of the following entire counties:

  • Wyandot
  • Marion
  • Hardin

The following regulations apply within the DSA:

  • Successful hunters must bring either the head or complete carcasses of all deer harvested within the DSA to either a staffed sampling station or use a self-serve kiosk on specified days (mandatory sampling days for the 2022-23 season have yet to be determined);
  • Beginning immediately, prohibits the placement of or use of salt, mineral supplement, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed to attract or feed deer within the disease surveillance area;
  • Beginning immediately, prohibits hunting of deer by the aid of salt, mineral supplement, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed within the disease surveillance area;
  • Prohibits the removal of a complete carcass or high-risk parts from the disease surveillance area, unless the carcass complies with deer carcass regulations or the carcass is delivered to a certified taxidermist or processor within 24 hours of leaving the disease surveillance area. Additional information on carcass regulations, acceptable carcass parts, and a complete list of certified processors and taxidermists can be found on this page under the tab “Deer Carcass Possession and Movement Restrictions”

Where to Submit a Deer for CWD Sampling

A map and list of all locations where deer can be submitted for sampling will be made available prior to the 2022-23 deer season.

CWD Test Results and Surveillance Summary

CWD Testing Results Updated 3-23-2022 [pdf]

Summary of 2021-22 CWD Surveillance (coming soon)

Deer Carcass Possession and Movement Restrictions

The risk of introducing CWD by transporting hunter-killed, wild deer, elk, moose, and other CWD-susceptible species is likely low. Rather, it is the improper handling of carcasses, trims, and parts that dramatically increases the odds of introducing CWD into Ohio’s wild deer herd. To minimize the risk of introduction, we have imposed a complete ban on the possession of high-risk carcass parts from anywhere outside of Ohio. Additionally, all high-risk parts originating in a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) within Ohio must remain there unless delivered to a certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of leaving the DSA. A map and accompanying list of certified processors and taxidermists is available below.

The Following Areas are Subject to Carcass Movement and Possession Rules:

  • Anywhere outside of Ohio
  • Disease Surveillance Area 2021-01, which comprises the following entire counties:
    • Wyandot
    • Hardin
    • Marion

No person shall possess all or any part of a cervidae carcass from an area outside of Ohio, or from areas within Ohio listed above unless the carcass is kept in the area where legally taken, killed, or processed, or unless the carcass is delivered to a certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of entering the state or leaving a DSA. The following is a list of carcass parts that are not subject to carcass possession and/or movement restrictions:

  • De-boned meat;
  • Meat that is cut and securely and completely wrapped either commercially or privately with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Antlers;
  • Antlers attached to a skull cap from which all soft tissue has been removed;
  • Upper canine teeth from which all soft tissue has been removed;
  • Hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached;
  • Finished taxidermy mounts; or
  • Any soft body tissue wrapped and packaged for use by a diagnostic research laboratory.

Locations of Certified Processors and Taxidermists (last updated Nov. 2021). Clicking on the map below will open a document containing the list of certified businesses.



Click map for list of certified processors

Processor and Taxidermist Training and Certification

List & Map of Ohio CWD Certified Processors and Taxidermists (rev. 11/21) [pdf]

After receiving authorization from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, a taxidermist or processor may possess a cervidae carcass or prohibited parts thereof taken from outside of the state of Ohio or from a Disease Surveillance Area. Taxidermists or processors may receive authorization after completion of required training in proper handling and disposal of the cervidae carcass or parts thereof as provided by the chief of the Division of Wildlife. As part of the certification, you must complete a short video presentation and test at the links below.

CWD News Archive

[News Release 10/26/21]: Increased CWD Surveillance Planned for Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion CountiesIncreased CWD Surveillance Planned for Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion Counties

[News Release 6/11/21]: CWD Surveillance Area Established in North-Central Ohio - Holmes and Tuscarawas counties DSA discontinued

[News Release 3/5/21]: Second Positive CWD Tissue Sample Identified in Wild Ohio Deer

[News Release 12/14/20]: Tissue Sample Confirmed Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in One Wild Ohio Deer