Heading to other states or Canada to bag a "big one"? Then make sure you don't bring Chronic Wasting Disease back with you. Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe says the importation ban on specific carcass parts from whitetail, mule deer, elk and moose has been updated.
The revised executive order affects hunters heading to: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York (only from CWD containment area), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia (only from Hampshire County), Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. It applies whether the animal was taken from the wild or from a captive, high-fence operation.
The specific parts, where the CWD prions (causative agent) concentrates are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft tissue is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord tissue; unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides.
The prohibition doesn't limit importation of: meat, without the backbone; cleaned skull plate with attached antlers, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; tanned hide or raw hide with no visible brain or spinal cord tissue present; cape, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if no root structure or other soft tissue is present; and finished taxidermy mounts.
Be cautious out there
If you're heading to a state with a history of CWD, follow these recommendations:
- Don't shoot, handle or consume any animal that appears sick.
- Wear rubber or latex gloves when field-dressing carcasses.
- Bone out the meat and minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues.
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field-dressing is completed.
- Request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added, or process your own.
- Process your animal in the endemic area where it was harvested, so high-risk body parts can be properly disposed of there.
- Normal field-dressing, coupled with boning out a carcass, will remove most, if not all, of the prohibited body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will help remove remaining lymph nodes.
Additional information, including tips for taxidermists and meat processors, can be found on the Game Commission's Web site: www.pgc.state.pa.us ) in the CWD Update. Under related links, you can go to all 50 state wildlife agencies. More info on CWD also can be found on the CWD Alliance's Web site: www.cwd-info.org .