NH Fish and Game Proposes Regulations to Slow Spread of CWD

March 18, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has proposed reauthorization of regulations to help prevent the introduction and spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state. The purpose of the rule “is to minimize the risk of hunters bringing potentially diseased hunter killed carcasses or parts into New Hampshire and exposing wild and captive cervid populations to chronic wasting disease.”

New Hampshire has not yet had any positive cases of CWD in either wild or captive cervid populations. The regulations are put in place in an attempt to prevent the introduction and spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state. Specifically, the rule makes it illegal to “import into the state any hunter killed cervid carcass or parts of a cervid carcass from CWD positive jurisdictions.” Exceptions exist for deboned meat; antlers and cleaned skull caps; upper canine teeth from which all soft tissue has been removed; hides or capes with no part of the head attached; finished taxidermy mounts; and/or tissues prepared and packaged for use by diagnostic or research laboratories.

CWD is currently the most significant threat to the future of healthy deer populations, deer hunting, and the hunting industry. It is arguably the biggest threat to broad wildlife conservation that we’ve encountered over the last century. While there remains much to learn about CWD, we do know that moving deer, dead or alive, can facilitate it's spread. That goes for deer relocations led by wildlife agencies or movements between captive deer facilities given the absence of a reliable live animal test, and transport of carcasses by hunters who can't be immediately sure if their deer is infected. CWD spreads the fastest and the furthest when carried in a vehicle, and that's something that all deer managers and hunters should be concerned about. 

While public hearings for the rule proposal have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NH Fish and Game has extended the time frame for acceptance of written and electronic comments on the rule and will issue new dates for public hearings in the future. In the meantime, New Hampshire residents are encouraged to submit electronic comments at [email protected].