West Virginia -(Ammoland.com)- As part of our agency’s ongoing management efforts to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a larger portion of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia has been added to the current area where artificial supplemental feeding and baiting of deer is prohibited,” said Robert Fala, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
Effective July 1, 2015, the area includes Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral and Morgan counties. Current research indicates that supplemental feeding and baiting of deer increases the chance of disease transmission far above the normal clustering of deer on natural and agricultural feeding areas. Lowering encounter rates between infected and non-infected animals by prohibiting artificial supplemental feeding and baiting are generally accepted management practices for slowing the spread of an infectious disease among wildlife.
Initiating these prohibitions is a major tool used by other states combating CWD. In these seven Eastern Panhandle counties it is illegal to bait or feed deer, which includes minerals and other edible enticements. Song and insectivorous birds may be fed, provided that such feeding shall not cause, or be done in a manner that would be reasonably anticipated to cause, a congregation of deer or other wildlife.
“The expansion of the West Virginia CWD Containment Area follows similar expansions of disease management areas in Virginia and Pennsylvania,” Director Fala said.
At a recent meeting hosted by West Virginia DNR at Cacapon Resort State Park, wildlife agency staff tasked with addressing CWD in their respective states of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio shared information regarding CWD and discussed ways to coordinate CWD management efforts on a regional basis.
“This information exchange between states is especially important with the current location of known CWD infected deer located in close proximity across the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia,” said Director Fala.
Deer hunters are reminded that dead deer or their parts may not be transported beyond the boundary of Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties except for the following: meat that has been boned out, quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, cleaned hide with no head attached, clean skull plate (no meat or tissue attached) with antlers attached, antlers with no meat or tissue attached, and finished taxidermy mounts. Hunters may transport deer carcasses that were not killed inside the containment area through the containment area.
CWD has now been detected in a total of 179 deer in Hampshire County and four deer in Hardy County. The DNR will continue to update management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state as information from deer testing within West Virginia is gathered and scientists across the country provide more information on how to combat CWD in white-tailed deer.
For additional information on deer baiting and feeding prohibitions and deer carcass transport restrictions please see the 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at DNR offices and license agents or visit www.wvdnr.gov.