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 (1 part bleach to 1.5 parts 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 and Transporting Your Harvested Deer or Elk

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.

See Wyoming Game & Fish Department General Hunting Regulations, Sections 15 & 16 for complete regulations regarding transportation, disposal, and importation of animals from known CWD areas.     
Nonresident hunters should check with their state wildlife agency concerning local recommendations or regulations prohibiting importation of certain portions of carcasses into that state. 

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.

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.

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.


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