Information for hunters
How hunters can reduce the risk of CWD
Moving infected carcasses is a known risk for introducing CWD to new areas. To protect Florida deer populations, in 2021 the FWC prohibited importing or possessing whole carcasses and high-risk parts of deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family originating outside of Florida.
Hunters can help reduce the risk of CWD by knowing and following these regulations when hunting out of state for deer, elk, moose, carious and all other members of the deer family.
Support the CWD monitoring program
Hunters are being asked to support the FWC’s efforts to monitor Florida deer for CWD by voluntarily submitting their deer heads for testing (skull cap and antlers can be removed and kept by the hunter). Hunters can learn more about how they can support FWC’s surveillance efforts by calling the toll free CWD hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282).
In addition, hunters who see or harvest a sick or extremely skinny deer should call the CWD hotline. An FWC biologist can then collect the deer and take it to a lab for necropsy. The FWC recommends not handling harvested deer that appeared sick or extremely skinny.
Since 2002, the FWC has tested over 16,500 hunter-killed, road-killed, and sick or diseased deer for CWD, and the disease has not been detected in Florida.
Learn more about CWD monitoring.
Precautions hunters should take when hunting in a state or province where CWD has been detected
Public health and wildlife officials advise hunters to take the following precautions when pursuing or handling deer that may have been exposed to CWD:
- Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing your deer.
- Bone out the meat from your animal. Don't saw through bone and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
- Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
- Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
- Avoid consuming the meat from any animal that tests positive for CWD.
- If you have your deer commercially processed, request that your animal be processed individually, with no meat from other animals added to meat from your animal.
- Know and follow regulations when hunting out of state. Importing or possessing carcasses and parts thereof from deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family originating outside of Florida is prohibited.