The New York State DEC announced a number of new regulations for hunters.

On Wednesday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC is adopting regulatory changes that will further protect New York's wild deer and moose from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

"Chronic Wasting Disease poses a significant threat to New York's deer and moose populations," Seggos said. "We don't have CWD in New York, and we want to keep it that way. With these regulation changes, we are acting to reduce the likelihood that hunters or owners of captive CWD-susceptible animals may inadvertently bring the disease into the state."

According to the DEC, the regulations' most significant change is that hunters are now prohibited from returning to New York State with whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose, or caribou harvested outside of New York. Only the deboned meat, cleaned skull cap, antlers with no flesh adhering, raw or processed cape or hide, cleaned teeth or lower jaw, and finished taxidermy products of CWD-susceptible animals may be brought into New York.

"The Department of Agriculture and Markets continues to work closely with DEC to be vigilant against CWD. These new regulations are welcome additions to the surveillance and testing conducted by our veterinarians, animal health inspectors, and our New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and will help us reduce this major threat to our cervid populations," State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said.

DEC officers will be monitoring roadways and entry points along state borders and whole carcasses that are imported into New York illegally will be confiscated and destroyed, officials say.

CWD is an untreatable and fatal nervous system disease caused by abnormally shaped proteins called prions. It affects deer, elk, and moose. CWD prions are shed through saliva, urine, and feces of infected animals. A healthy deer, elk, or moose can pick up the disease by direct contact with the infected animal's body fluids or by eating contaminated sources of food or water. CWD is not currently known to exist in New York.

Transportation of carcasses through New York is still legal, provided that no parts are disposed of or remain in New York, but hunters should verify importation rules in their destination state or province.

The DEC offered the following steps to keep New York CWD-free:

  • Not ship, import, or bring whole deer, elk, moose, or caribou carcasses or intact trophy heads into New York;
  • Avoid natural deer-urine-based attractants. Instead, use synthetic products; and
  • Dispose of carcasses and carcass parts properly at approved landfills.

Other adopted changes include:

  • Increasing the ease with which DEC's Environmental Conservation Police Officers can enforce DAM regulations to ensure compliance by owners of captive cervids (animals in the deer family)
  •  Clarifying disposal requirements for taxidermists that process CWD-susceptible animals.

The new regulations took effect on Wednesday.