CWD Roundup – January 2024

January 3, 2024 By: Torin Miller

CWD Roundup is the National Deer Association’s (NDA) bi-monthly update on all things chronic wasting disease (CWD). We’ll provide the latest updates on CWD spread, research and policy from across North America. Updates are provided alphabetically by state and province.

Regulatory Reminders and Updates for Hunting Seasons

A general trend that we’ve seen over the last two months is state wildlife agencies issuing news releases with information and reminders for hunters with respect to CWD as fall hunting seasons wrap-up or continue into the early winter. These reminders have included information on CWD hunting zones, regulations within those zones, carcass transport rules and how and where to get harvested deer tested for the disease. Hunters should pay close attention to these reminders and would be wise to take another glance at their state wildlife agency’s CWD webpage. Regulations and maps change quickly and often, and hunters must do their part to limit the spread of this disease.

Some states that have issued regulatory reminders include: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming


In mid-December, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announced that two additional cases of CWD in hunter harvested, white-tailed deer have been confirmed in northern Lauderdale County in northwest Alabama. The two additional deer bring Alabama’s total number of confirmed CWD cases to five. So far during the 2023-2024 hunting season, samples have been collected from more than 1,700 white-tailed deer harvested statewide with 420 of those samples collected within the CMZ. One of the positive samples was submitted during the second CMZ mandatory sampling weekend (December 2-3). The other positive sample was voluntarily submitted at a drop-off sampling location by a hunter as part of ADCNR’s ongoing CWD monitoring efforts.


In early November, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) received test results confirming a positive case of CWD in a mule deer buck harvested roughly 7 miles south of New Meadows in Game Management Unit 32A.

This is the first known case of CWD outside of Unit 14 north of Riggins, where the disease was first detected in Idaho in the fall of 2021. This was also the first positive case of CWD from the 2023 fall hunting season. IDFG increased sampling efforts in response.


In early December, officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (Kentucky Fish and Wildlife) announced that Kentucky has joined the list of states across the country with a confirmed detection of CWD. The positive detection came from a 2 ½-year-old male white-tailed deer that was harvested by a hunter in Ballard County in November. Biologists collected tissue from the animal as part of ongoing CWD surveillance efforts.​​​


In late November, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a deer harvested during the opening weekend of firearms season near Wabasha in southeastern Minnesota tested positive for CWD. The hunter harvested the adult male deer in deer permit area (DPA) 342, within the southeastern Minnesota CWD surveillance zone where hunters were required to have their deer tested for CWD during the opening weekend of firearms season. DNR added DPA 342 to the CWD surveillance zone this year in response to detections of CWD in wild deer in bordering Buffalo County, Wisconsin in 2022.


In early December, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) received CWD positive test results for a hunter-harvested buck from Harrison County. This is the first CWD-positive detection for this county. Additional information will be forthcoming about a CWD Management Zone.


In late December, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reported that CWD surveillance conducted in central and north-central Nebraska during the November firearm deer season detected 31 positive cases in deer. 603 samples were collected from harvested deer at check stations in the Sandhills, Keya Paha, Calamus East, Calamus West and Loup West Deer Management Units.

North Carolina

In late November, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) confirmed a 2.5-year-old female white-tailed deer harvested in Franklin County tested positive for CWD. The deer was hunter-harvested during firearms season and represents the first detection of the disease in Franklin County. 


In late November, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) received a positive CWD test result in a hunter-harvested deer in Lewis County. This was the first positive CWD case for Lewis County and will result in changes to feeding and carcass transportation regulations.


In mid-November, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) received confirmation of a case of CWD in Cherokee County, marking the first detection in a deer breeding facility in the county. A four-year-old buck tested positive using postmortem testing conducted to meet annual CWD surveillance requirements for the facility.

In early December, TPWD biologists reported a suspect-positive case of CWD in a 14-month-old captive male white-tailed deer at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area (WMA) research facility. The detection resulted from ante-mortem testing conducted on all captive white-tailed deer as part of ongoing research. Out of an abundance of caution, TPWD staff euthanized all deer in the research facility and collected post-mortem samples, which resulted in no additional detections. TPWD will continue monitoring for CWD throughout the research facility and the WMA.

In early December, TPWD received confirmation of a case of CWD in Coleman County, marking the first detection in the county. A two-year-old whitetail buck harvested by a hunter on a low-fenced property tested positive through sampling conducted voluntarily to assist with the state’s CWD surveillance. The sample was collected by a TPWD Wildlife Biologist as part of the statewide surveillance effort.


In late November, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) confirmed CWD has now spread to deer in the Payson area of Utah County. Between July 1 and Nov. 28, DWR biologists have confirmed 26 positive cases of CWD, including 25 deer and one elk.  Of those animals, 18 were harvested by hunters, five were found dead and three were sick animals that were reported and euthanized by the DWR. The majority of the positive CWD cases were from northeastern Utah, but a positive deer was also located in Payson, which is a new area for CWD.


In mid-December, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) confirmed the presence of CWD in an adult male deer harvested near Dugspur, in Carroll County. This marks the first confirmed case of CWD in Carroll County, although the county is already included in Disease Management Area 3 (DMA3) due to previous detections in neighboring counties. The deer in question was brought to a taxidermist in October 2023, and DWR obtained the sample shortly thereafter as part of the Department’s proactive CWD surveillance efforts.


In late November, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) adopted a rule change allowing the Department to offer an incentive to hunters who have their harvested deer and elk tested for CWD. Hunters who harvest within the target surveillance area (currently Eastern Region 1) and submit deer or elk samples for CWD testing will be entered into a random drawing for one of 100 free multi-season deer tags.


In early November, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the first positive test result for CWD in a wild deer in Polk County. The deer was harvested in the town of Apple River and was within 10 miles of the Barron County border. The deer was a hunter-harvested 3-year-old doe. Polk County will begin a three-year baiting and feeding ban on Dec. 1, 2023, and Barron County will renew the ban already in place.

In early November, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed that an Oneida County deer farm tested positive for CWD. The positive result came from a 4-year-old white-tailed buck. The farm has been placed under quarantine, where it will remain while DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and staff conduct the epidemiological investigation.

In late November, DNR confirmed the first positive test result for CWD in a wild deer in Jackson County. The deer was a hunter-harvested 2-year-old buck. The deer was harvested in the town of Garfield and is within 10 miles of the Eau Claire and Trempealeau County borders. As a result, Jackson County will renew the ban already in place. Eau Claire and Trempealeau counties currently have 3-year baiting and feeding bans in place from positive detections within the county, so this detection will not impact those counties.

In late December, DATCP confirmed that a Dodge County deer farm that tested positive for CWD in May 2023 has been depopulated. Of the 172 animals depopulated, 23 tested positive for the disease. In total, there were 26 positive cases of CWD at this premises, as three cervids had died prior to depopulation. DATCP quarantined the farm in May 2023 when a 9-year-old doe tested positive for CWD. The farm owner will receive federal indemnity for the depopulated animals. The farm will not be permitted to hold cervids for five years, and during that period it must maintain fences and submit to routine inspections.


In mid-November, Yellowstone National Park and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) confirmed the presence of CWD in the carcass of an adult mule deer buck found near Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern section of the park. This is the first confirmed positive detection of the disease in Yellowstone National Park. The mule deer buck was originally captured by WGFD staff near Cody, Wyoming, in March 2023 as part of a population dynamics study and fitted with a GPS collar. The collar signaled the animal died mid-October 2023. In coordination with Yellowstone staff, WGFD located the carcass and collected samples for testing.  The samples tested positive for CWD based on multiple diagnostic tests performed at WGFD’s Wildlife Health Laboratory.

In mid-December, WGFD confirmed the presence of CWD in Elk Hunt Area 122. The disease was detected in a hunter-harvested cow elk in early November. Elk Hunt Area 122 is in the Casper Region and is bordered by three areas where CWD was previously detected.

About Torin Miller:

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Senior Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a J.D. from Penn State Law. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.