Help keep deer healthy


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is asking deer hunters to help keep Ohio’s wild white-tailed deer herd free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is an incurable fatal neurological disease that affects deer populations.

There is no strong evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans; however, hunters are encouraged to follow standard precautions when handling deer parts, including:

* Wear rubber gloves when field-dressing and thoroughly wash hands and instruments after butchering and field dressing.

* Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.

* Do not eat the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.

* Do not consume meat from any animal that appears sick or tests positive for CWD.

* Hunters may have their deer tested by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a small fee. Call (614) 728-6220 for more information.

To help protect Ohio’s deer herd from CWD, hunters should properly dispose of their deer carcasses by double-bagging all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes and lymphoid tissue) and dispose of them in a secure container.

To minimize the risk of spreading CWD, hunters planning to hunt outside of Ohio are reminded to follow carcass regulations prior to returning. The proper handling of carcasses, trims, and parts dramatically decreases the odds of introducing CWD into Ohio’s wild deer herd. No person is permitted to bring high-risk carcass parts of CWD-susceptible species (white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, caribou or moose) into Ohio from any state, Mexican state or Canadian province. High-risk carcass parts may be transported through Ohio if they are not unloaded within the state.

If you hunt outside Ohio, you must bone out the meat before returning to the state with an elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, caribou or moose. Only the following parts may be brought into Ohio:

* Meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;

* Meat that is boned out, securely and completely wrapped either commercially or privately;

* Cleaned hides with no heads attached;

* Skull plates that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue;

* Antlers with no meat or tissue attached;

* Cleaned upper canine teeth;

* Hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached; or

* Finished taxidermy mounts.

As a reminder, portions of Holmes and Tuscarawas counties have been declared a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to monitor CWD. Specific regulations that apply to hunters, including mandatory sampling dates and inspection state locations, may be found in the 2019-2020 Hunting and Trapping Regulations book and at wildohio.gov.

If hunters have questions about CWD or actions they may take to help protect Ohio’s wild deer herd, they may call their county wildlife officer, 800-WILDLIFE (800-945-3543), or a wildlife district office. The Division of Wildlife is responsible for managing Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources for the benefit of all Ohioans. The Division of Wildlife greatly appreciates the cooperation of hunters in helping monitor Ohio’s deer herd. For more information about CWD, visit wildohio.gov.