Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 11:00am
This spring Alabama’s Conservation Advisory Board took steps to strengthen existing hunting regulations aimed at preventing the unintentional import of disease pathogens associated with game animals harvested outside the state.
Alabama hunting regulation 220-2-.25, which addresses the importation of game animals, wildlife and furs, was expanded to ban the import of all cervid (deer and other deer-like animals) body parts from states, territories, and foreign countries where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed. Body parts from infected animals can carry the same deadly risk to Alabama’s deer herd as live animals. Beginning this fall, the regulation change will affect how hunters can return to Alabama with deer harvested during an out-of-state hunting trip.
Exceptions to the ban include meat that has been completely deboned, cleaned skull plates with attached antlers and no visible brain or spinal cord tissue, raw capes or hides with no visible brain or spinal cord tissue, upper canine teeth with no root structure or other soft tissue, and finished taxidermy products or tanned hides.
“Many Alabama hunters commonly hunt deer in states with CWD in their deer populations,” said Lt. Carter Hendrix with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Law Enforcement Section. “Under this new regulation they must take steps to debone the meat or remove all brain tissue from their harvested deer before returning home to Alabama. This ban, in conjunction with the ban on importation of live deer, will aid in reducing the chances of the disease coming to the state.”
Comparable to mad cow disease, CWD is a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of cervids. The disease attacks the brain of an infected animal causing it to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions, and die. CWD has been found in captive and/or wild deer in 24 states, two Canadian provinces, Norway, and South Korea. It is not known to be transmissible to humans or domestic livestock. To date, there have been no positive tests for CWD in Alabama.
Alabama and 36 other states ban the importation of cervid body parts from CWD affected areas. Violation of Alabama’s animal parts ban is a class C misdemeanor.
WFF needs your support in maintaining Alabama’s CWD-free status. To report the importation of live or harvested deer, call the Operation GameWatch line at 1-800-272-4263. If possible, please provide a name and description of any suspects including vehicle description, license plate, and the time and location of the observation. Resident deer exhibiting signs of CWD can also be reported via GameWatch.
To learn more about CWD, visit www.outdooralabama.com/chronic-wasting-disease-what-you-should-know.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.