Deer and CWD

CWD is 100 percent fatal to deer, elk and moose.

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is reminding hunters of a regulation designed to help keep Vermont deer healthy by banning the use of any deer lure containing natural deer urine or other deer bodily fluids.

The infectious agent of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal disease of deer, is a mutant protein or “prion” that can be passed in urine. This mutant protein can bind to soils and remain infectious for many years. Nearly all natural urine-based lures are produced in captive deer facilities, where CWD is most likely to occur. There is no way to test live animals, and infected animals can spread CWD for years before showing any symptoms. No amount of testing or special certification program can eliminate the risk of spreading CWD through natural urine lures.

“No single buck is worth risking the health of Vermont’s entire deer herd,” said Nick Fortin, Vermont’s deer biologist. “If someone feels they must use a lure, there are legal, synthetic alternatives that are just as effective.”

CWD is 100 percent fatal to deer, elk and moose. It causes irreversible population declines and has been impossible to eliminate once it becomes established in a population. CWD has not yet been detected in Vermont.

“If CWD is ever detected in Vermont, local deer numbers would have to be greatly reduced to attempt to control the disease before it becomes well established and spreads,” said Mark Scott, director of wildlife. “This reduction would have to be done for at least five years.”

More information about Chronic Wasting Disease can be found at www.cwd-info.org.

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