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Hunters asked to aid Va. Dept. of Wildlife in identifying Chronic Wasting Disease in deer population

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is asking hunters for their continued support and assistance with the Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. Each deer hunting season, DWR works closely with local hunters, processors and taxidermists to monitor the geographic spread of the disease and prevalence trends in deer populations. 

This coming Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, any deer killed in Orange, Rappahannock or Shenandoah, Carroll, Floyd, Montgomery or Pulaski counties is required to be brought to a CWD sample station to be tested for CWD, according to Paige Pearson, DWR public information officer.

Required CWD sampling helps DWR maximize CWD testing in specific counties.  Any deer, or at minimum the head and at least 4 inches of neck, killed in Orange, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Carroll, Floyd, Montgomery or Pulaski on Nov. 19 must be brought to one of the designated sampling stations listed below: 
 
Orange County
Barboursville Volunteer Fire Dept. – 5251 Spotswood Trail, Barboursville
The Market at Locust Grove – 32301 Constitution Highway, Locust Grove

Rappahannock County
Amissville Volunteer Fire Dept. – 14711 Lee Hwy, Amissville
The School House – 12018 Lee Hwy, Sperryville

Shenandoah County 
Larkins Store – 19004 Senedo Rd, Edinburg
Woodbine Farms and Market Inc. – 5199 John Marshall Hwy, Strasburg
 
Carroll County 
Exxon/Circle K – 26 Airport Rd, Hillsville
Cana Volunteer Fire Dept. – 4235 Flower Gap Rd, Cana

Floyd County 
Floyd Express Market – 609 E. Main St., Floyd
Willis Village Market - 5602 Floyd Highway S., Willis

Montgomery County 
Office building at 2206 S. Main St., Blacksburg
Shell Station – 4330 Riner Rd., Riner

Pulaski County  
New River State Park, Dora Junction – From I-81, take State Route 99 west for 2 miles. Turn right on Xaloy Way and sample station will be on left. 
New River Valley Fairgrounds - 5581 Fairgrounds Cir., Dublin

Deer heads plus at least 4 inches of neck may also be dropped at any of the voluntary refrigerator stations in Orange, Rappahannock, or Shenandoah counties on this day to meet the mandatory testing requirement.

Carcass transport is believed to be a risk factor for the spread of CWD.  Whole deer and carcass parts containing brain and/or spinal tissue from deer harvested in Disease Management Area 1 (DMA1, Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties) may not legally be transported out of DMA1 to other areas of Virginia. 

Whole deer and carcass parts containing brain and/or spinal tissue from deer harvested in Disease Management Area 2 (DMA2, Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, and Rappahannock counties), where fewer deer have been confirmed to be infected with CWD, may be transported anywhere in either DMA1 or DMA2.

On November 19th, deer harvested in Orange or Rappahannock counties may be taken to any of the six stations listed above for sampling.  Deer harvested in Shenandoah may only be brought to one of the two stations located in Shenandoah County. 

DWR strongly encourages hunters who are successful on any other day of the deer hunting season to submit the head and neck from their deer for sampling by bringing it to one of DWR’s voluntary CWD testing sites, which can be found at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/cwd-information-for-hunters/.

Chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in 26 states and three Canadian provinces.  In Virginia, CWD has been detected in 100+ deer from 11 counties since 2009.  This incurable disease, found in deer, elk, and moose in North America, is a slow-acting and progressive neurologic disease that ultimately results in death of the animal. The disease-causing agent is spread through the urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals. Clinical signs of CWD, which typically do not develop for several months to over a year after exposure, include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

Pearson said, “There is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans, pets, or livestock (with the possible exception of pigs). However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters test all deer harvested from known CWD-positive areas, wait until test results are received prior to consuming the meat, and do not consume any meat from animals that test positive for the disease. ”

Regulations pertaining to CWD, maps of affected states, and information about CWD, can be found on the DWR website at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/disease/cwd.

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