A white-tailed deer carcass recently recovered about 2.5 miles south of the Cimarron County border in the western Panhandle has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Although not inside of state our borders, due to the proximity of this finding to Oklahoma, the Wildlife Department has begun implementing their CWD Response Plan jointly produced with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
Emergency Rules Enacted
A Selective Surveillance Area (SSA) has been established and includes the area south of U.S. 412 from Boise City to the New Mexico state line and south of U.S. 287 from Boise City to the Texas state line.
Pending approval from the Governor, new rules have been established for this area. Hunters who harvest deer or elk within the boundaries of the SSA must process those animals before leaving the SSA. The following items are the only parts allowed outside the SSA:
(A) Antlers detached from the skull plate and antlers attached to a clean skull plate or cleaned skulls (all tissue removed)
(B) Animal quarters containing no spinal materials, or meat with all parts of the spinal column removed
(C) Cleaned teeth
(D) Finished taxidermy products
(E) Hides or tanned products
It’s important to note in this area of the state that CWD does not affect pronghorn antelope, or livestock. Transmission of CWD from cervids to humans has never been documented.
These new rules are in addition to already established regulations regarding importation of cervid carcasses and carcass parts into the state. The restriction states that no one shall import, transport, or possess any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass from outside Oklahoma’s boundaries, except for antlers, or antlers attached to clean skull plate, or cleaned skulls (all tissue removed); animal quarters containing no spinal material, or meat with all parts of the spinal column removed; cleaned teeth; finished taxidermy products; hides or tanned products.
Voluntary Testing Available Soon
Hunters and landowners in the SSA are encouraged to volunteer their deer or elk heads to be tested. Currently the Wildlife Department is working to provide hunters and landowners with a freezer located at a public drop off site. The location of the freezer and more details regarding voluntary testing will be made available at wildlifedepartment.com.
Additional human health information relating to CWD is available at https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nwhc/science/chronic-wasting-disease#publications.
For more information on the disease, how it could affect hunting, and proper disposal of infected animals, go to https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/resources/deer/cwd
Information about the SSA is available at https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/resources/deer/cwd/ssa-cimarron