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NCWRC: Testing a priority as more deer test positive for fatal deer disease

A deer stands by the road at Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County.
A deer stands by the road at Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County. RO file photo

RALEIGH — Wildlife officials are grateful for hunters and cooperative partners who have helped and are continuing to help the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission with Chronic Wasting Disease testing and monitoring this deer hunting season.

CWD was first detected in North Carolina this March, resulting in special regulations in two geographic areas in the northwest region of the state called the Primary and Secondary Surveillance Areas.

One of the new regulations is mandatory testing in both Surveillance Areas. Mandatory testing has been successful and remains in effect in the Primary Surveillance Area until Jan. 2, 2023. Mandatory testing in the Secondary Surveillance Area ended Nov. 27, however wildlife officials recently confirmed two more positive CWD detections, both in Surry County, which falls in the Secondary area. Although testing is not required outside of the Primary Surveillance Area, it’s strongly recommended that hunters submit their harvested deer’s lymph nodes for testing.

Three free testing options are available. Hunters can:

  • Submit their deer head at a CWD Testing Drop-off Station.
  • Take their harvested deer to a Wildlife Commission staffed check station.
  • Ask their meat processor or taxidermist if they participate in the Cervid Health Cooperator program. If they are a Cooperator, they will submit a sample as part of their services.

Testing locations are conveniently located across the state, and searchable on an interactive map at ncwildlife.org/CWD. Test results are available on the agency’s website several weeks after the sample is received no matter how the sample is submitted.

“Testing for CWD remains our number one priority this deer season,” said Brad Howard, chief of Wildlife Commission’s Wildlife Management Division. “It’s imperative that we continue to send samples to the lab so we can determine where in our state the disease is detected.”

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Even though mandatory testing is no longer required in the Secondary Surveillance Area, all other special CWD regulations remain in place, including carcass transport restrictions.

“The transport of deer out of the Surveillance Areas is strictly prohibited. The best way for us to keep from moving the disease to new areas is to not move deer. In short, don’t give CWD a ride,” said Howard.

For more information about CWD, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit ncwildlife.org/CWD and get to KNOW CWD through a 5-minute video released by the Wildlife Commission.