KY Deer Hunters: Special Regulations for New Chronic Wasting Disease Zone
I think I enjoy the fall as much as I enjoy anything. It's just the perfect weather. And there are so many events and seasons that always get me in the mood.
I've already immersed myself in looking for fall getaway ideas and checking college football updates on a daily basis. And even though I don't hunt, any announcements regarding deer season make me perk up.
KENTUCKY DEER HUNTING SEASON
We have a lot of deer hunters in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Commonwealth is among the top ten states for deer hunters--everyone trying to snag the big trophy. Kentucky Afield features a hunter who landed a 39-point buck. Like I said, I'm no hunter, but even I know that's an insane catch.
CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE
For the 2022-2023 deer hunting season, there will be a few changes in effect and mostly regarding chronic wasting disease (CWD). So what IS chronic wasting disease?
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal, neurological disease of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, caribou and moose. The disease was first recognized as a "wasting syndrome" in mule deer in a research facility in Northern Colorado in 1967 and has since spread to free-ranging and captive populations in 26 U.S. states and four Canadian Provinces. The disease is currently present in six of seven Kentucky-bordering states (Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee).
NEW KENTUCKY DEER HUNTING REGULATIONS REGARDING THE CWD ZONE
A chronic wasting disease surveillance zone was established in 2021 and special regulations will apply to that zone for the upcoming season.
Clearly, the good news is that CWD has not been detected in Kentucky yet. But the five counties in the surveillance zone--Marshall, Calloway, Graves, Hickman, and Fulton--are border counties with Tennessee (or close enough) that it's nowhere near outside the realm of possibilities for infected deer to wander across the state line.
WHAT, IF ANY, EFFECT DOES CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE HAVE ON HUMANS?
If you were wondering--like I was--if CWD affects humans, the Centers for Disease Control weighs in on the topic:
To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, some animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to certain types of non-human primates, like monkeys, that eat meat from CWD-infected animals or come in contact with brain or body fluids from infected deer or elk. These studies raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people.
That small risk is enough for the KDFWR to provide these recommendations:
- Don't harvest an animal that appears sick or unhealthy.
- When field dressing and processing an animal, bone-out all meat and avoid severing bones.
- Don't split the backbone.
- Avoid or minimize handling of brain, spinal cord, tonsils, and lymph glands.
- Do not consume brain, spinal cord or lymph glands.
- Thoroughly wash your hands and sanitize your tools when finished processing game.
- The CDC recommends not eating meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.
Deer hunting season is set to begin, and the new regulations regarding CWD are only for the zone, but it's not a bad idea to keep the KDFWR hunting guide handy.
Happy hunting and bring on the fall.