New Hampshire hunters hunting in New York this fall should be aware that it is illegal to transport the carcasses through Vermont or Massachusetts. While New York has been removed from New Hampshire’s list of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)-positive jurisdictions, Massachusetts and Vermont have not done so.
New Hampshire hunters are warned that simply crossing these states with a deer carcass from New York remains a violation and could result in legal prosecution. As a consequence, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends that hunters continue past practices of deboning New York deer.
The background on this issue is as follows: In April of 2005, New York found its first wild CWD-positive deer in the Onieda County town of Verona. Sampling of additional local deer began and a second positive wild deer was also found nearby. New York established a CWD Containment Area in the Oneida/Madison County area surrounding the location where the positive deer were found and began intensive sampling for CWD. This included all deer killed by hunters within the containment area between 2005 and 2010. Over that period, a total of 7,300 deer were tested and none were positive. Additionally, beginning in 2002, New York tested 32,000 deer statewide as part of their routine monitoring and surveillance program; again no CWD-positive deer were found. With no additional positive deer found after five years of intensive sampling, in July of 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officially decommissioned the CWD Containment Area.
In light of the New York’s extensive sampling efforts and their decision to decommission the CWD Containment Area, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department determined that there was minimal remaining risk that CWD was still present and proposed that New York be removed from New Hampshire’s list of CWD-positive jurisdictions. This change again allowed New Hampshire hunters who hunt in New York to bring their deer home as a field-dressed carcass without the requirement that only the de-boned meat, hide and antlers could be brought back. This rule change was approved early this year and is now in effect for the fall of 2012.
HOWEVER, while New Hampshire now permits importation of whole deer from New York, the regulations in Massachusetts and Vermont still prohibit the importation of deer carcasses from New York. Their regulations include the transport of New York killed deer carcasses through these states. Given the current regulations in Massachusetts and Vermont, New Hampshire hunters are warned that simply crossing these states with a deer carcass from New York remains a violation and could result in legal prosecution. As a consequence, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends that hunters continue past practices of deboning New York deer.
For more information on Chronic Wasting Disease, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/CWD_QandA.htm.