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New Rules to Protect Florida Deer from CWD

If you’re hunting deer, elk, moose or caribou outside of Florida, watch this new video about chronic wasting disease to learn about the new rules designed to reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida.

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If you’re planning to hunt outside of Florida:

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Be aware of rule changes that prohibit importing or possessing whole carcasses or high-risk parts of deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other species of the deer family originating from any place outside of Florida.

Under the new rules, people may import into Florida:

  • De-boned meat
  • Finished taxidermy mounts
  • Clean hides and antlers
  • Skulls, skull caps and teeth if all soft tissue has been removed

The only exception to this rule is deer harvested from a property in Georgia or Alabama can be imported into Florida if the property is bisected by the Florida state line and is under the same ownership. See this infographic about the new rules.

These rules went into effect July 1, 2021, and replace FWC Executive Order 19-41. The new rules do NOT include the permit option allowed under FWC Executive Order 19-41 to import whole deer or high-risk parts from properties in Georgia or Alabama provided certain requirements are met.

These rule changes continue the FWC’s work to protect Florida’s deer populations by reducing the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreading into the state. CWD has not been detected in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

Moving infected carcasses is one of the known risks for introducing CWD prions to new areas. The abnormal proteins or prions that cause CWD can be transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact. CWD prions also can be transmitted through the saliva, urine, feces, blood and carcass parts of an infected animal. It can even spread through soil that has been contaminated with CWD prions from decomposing carcasses or any of the above fluids. These CWD prions can persist in the soil for many years, even when exposed to harsh conditions such as prescribed fire, and are capable of infecting healthy deer for years. Higher concentrations of deer increase the likelihood of disease transmission. See this graphic about how CWD is transmitted.

To reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida, the FWC approved rule changes to prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from any species in the deer family (such as deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating outside of Florida. Under the new rules, people can import into Florida de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; clean hides and antlers; and skulls, skull caps, and teeth IF all soft tissue has been removed. 
In addition, the rules allow an exception for deer harvested from a property in Georgia or Alabama if such property is bisected by the Florida state line and is under the same ownership. However, the new rules do NOT include the permit option allowed under FWC Executive Order 19-41 to import whole deer or high-risk parts from properties in Georgia or Alabama provided certain requirements are met.

The FWC has been testing deer for CWD since 2002, and the disease has not been detected in Florida.

Clean hides or capes of deer, elk, moose, caribou and other members of the deer family harvested outside of Florida may be imported into Florida if the skull has been removed. Hides do not need to be scraped prior to being imported into the state.

A cape is the length of hide from the nose of the animal to just behind the front shoulders.

CWD is one of the most serious wildlife diseases facing state wildlife agencies such as the FWC. Research suggests CWD could substantially reduce infected deer populations.

Vaccines to prevent CWD have been ineffective and there is no known cure for prion diseases. Preventing CWD from spreading into Florida is critical. Once CWD has been established, it is difficult to control the spread of CWD and virtually impossible to eradicate. 

Moving infected carcasses is one of the known risks for introducing CWD prions to new areas. To reduce that risk, the FWC approved rule changes to prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from any species in the deer family (such as deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating outside of Florida. Under the new rules, people can import into Florida de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; clean hides and antlers; and skulls, skull caps, and teeth IF all soft tissue has been removed.

In addition, the rules allow an exception for deer harvested from a property in Georgia or Alabama if such property is bisected by the Florida state line and is under the same ownership. However, the new rules do NOT include the permit option allowed under FWC Executive Order 19-41 to import whole deer or high-risk parts from properties in Georgia or Alabama provided certain requirements are met.

Learn about CWD.

 

Visit MyFWC.com/CWD to learn more about CWD.

Deer Disease Hotline

Please report any deer sick or dead of unknown causes in Florida to the CWD hotline at (866) 629-3982.

Unite Against CWD