Proper Carcass Disposal and Precautions in CWD Areas

Handling Precautions

State public health officials and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department recommend taking the following simple precautions when handling deer or elk carcasses where CWD occurs.

• Wear rubber or latex gloves as a routine precaution when field dressing.
• When butchering, meat should be boned out.
• Hunters should not harvest or eat wild animals that appear sick.
• For disinfecting utensils of the prion protein, use sodium hypochlorite (household bleach, >2% free chlorine, 280 ml in 720 ml water at room temperature for 1 hour) or sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, soda lye, 38g in 1 L water at room temperature for 1 hour).

What Should You Do if You See a Deer or Elk that Looks Sick?

Contact the local game warden, biologist, or regional Game and Fish office. In southeast Wyoming, you can also contact the Tom Thorne/Beth Williams Research Center at Sybille, (307) 322-2571

Processing Deer or Elk from CWD Areas

Although natural occurrences have not been documented, recent research indicates intact carcasses from deer that died of CWD may spread the disease to healthy deer. To minimize this possibility the department recommends that deer and elk hunters transport only the following items from areas where CWD is known to exist:

• cut and wrapped meat
• boned meat
• animal quarters or other pieces with no portion of the spinal column or head attached
• hides without the heads
• cleaned (no meat or other tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached
• antlers with no meat or other tissue attached

The head, spine and other nervous tissue should be left at the site of the kill or bagged and disposed of in an approved landfill.

Continue Following Current Regulation

Nothing in these recommendations allows hunters to remove evidence of sex, species or horn or antler development as required in the regulations. For further information refer to the Important Hunting Information Section in the current year's deer or elk regulations.
CWD Regulations

Surveillance Efforts

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will continue CWD surveys this fall. Tissue samples will be collected from harvested deer and elk at selected check stations and meat processing facilities. Hunter participation is voluntary. Surveys help the department monitor CWD in Wyoming.

Testing procedures are not intended to provide quality assurance for individual carcasses. Hunters who choose to have their animals individually tested can contact the Wyoming State Veterinarian Laboratory at (307) 742-6638 for testing and fee information.

Transporting Your Harvested Deer or Elk

Nonresident hunters should check with their state wildlife agency concerning local recommendations or regulations prohibiting importation of certain portions of carcasses into that state. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will notify the state wildlife agency in your state if your animal tests positive for CWD.

What do human health experts say?

After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December of 1999, stated, "There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans." In a more recent article (2004), Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, "The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, [Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease] despite several epidemiologic investigations; suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low." Nonetheless, to avoid any risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick or tests positive for CWD or other TSEs should not be eaten.

Testing Harvested Deer and Elk for CWD

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be collecting tissue samples at various check stations and meat processing facilities for CWD prevalence. Test results can be obtained on this website by clicking on the surveillance link below or by calling (307) 777-4600. In most cases, testing is completed in three weeks

Alternatively, hunters may have their animal tested at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (1174 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070; 307-766-9925) for a fee. Hunters should contact the Laboratory for sampling and testing details and costs.

Hunters whose animals tested positive for CWD will be notified by mail and those hunters may dispose of the meat without violating any laws concerning the waste of game meat. License fees, game processing fees or other incidental expenses will not be refunded.

Hunters whose animals do not test positive will not be notified.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department receives federal financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the U.S. Department of Interior and its bureaus, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color national origin, age, disability, or sex (in education programs). If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility or if you desire more information, please write to, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Diversity and Civil Right programs, External Programs, 4040 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 30, Arlington, VA 22203.
Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People