Wildlife Resources shares recommendations for testing, storing deer meat harvested from Chronic Waste Disease management areas

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:57 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Since the discovery of chronic waste disease (CWD) was found in a deer in Montgomery County last year, the Department of Wildlife Resources has been vigilant educating hunters about what this means for future hunting seasons and for harvesting the deer meat.

Megan Kirchgessner, wildlife veterinarian, explained while there’s no strong evidence CWD can infect humans, there are other related diseases that can.

“They recommend that no humans consume any meat that is collected from a known CWD deer,” Kirchgessner said.

The CDC also recommends

all deer harvested in known disease management areas get tested before being consumed. The DWR makes it as easy as possible be offering five refrigerators in Montgomery, Floyd and Pulaski counties for hunters to store their deer for testing.

“The hunters simply need to collect the head and four inches of neck, deliver that to one of these refrigerators, follow the posted instructions and we will test that deer free of charge if the deer tests positive,” Kirchgessner said.

While waiting for those results, which can take 2-3 weeks, make sure you label and store the meat carefully.

“That way if there’s three deer frozen in a freezer and one tests positive, the hunter will know exactly what packages came from that CWD-positive deer and they can pull those packages out and dispose of them appropriately,” she explained.

The best way to throw the meat away is by throwing directly in a landfill or arranging for the DWR to pick it up.

Kirchgessner said it’s ultimately up to the hunter to decide whether to throw that meat away if it is positive for CWD, or whether to even get the deer tested in first place.

However, getting it tested helps the DWR tremendously in the study of this disease.

“We are testing all these deer because we need the data to be able to track the percentage of the deer population that is infected and then the geographic spread of this disease,” Kirchgessner said.

The only day hunters will be required to submit their meat for testing is Nov. 13, opening day for regular firearm deer season.

More information will be given and questions answered at the Department of Wildlife Resources next meeting which is Wednesday, Sept. 15 at the Pulaski County Middle School Auditorium from 6-8 p.m.

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