Chronic Wasting Disease

The first case of CWD was found in a captive bull elk in Harper County in 2001. As of 19 October 2016, CWD has been detected in 134 wild, free-ranging cervids in Deer Management Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7,17, 18 – 1 captive elk, 10 mule deer, and 123 white-tailed deer. Surveillance efforts began in 1996. Hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts can avoid the human-assisted spread of CWD by not transporting a live or dead deer or elk from areas where CWD occurs to CWD-free areas. There is currently no known treatment or eradication method for CWD, so preventing the introduction of the the disease into new areas is of utmost importance to the health of local deer herds. Baiting and feeding deer tend to concentrate deer at small point on the landscape, often with the trails leading to the feeding sites resembling the wheel spokes of a bicycle. Anytime animals are concentrated at this type of "hub," the likelihood of disease transmission increases in a deer herd. More alarming, CWD is not the only serious disease of concern. Diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, bacterial infections such as pneumonia and foot rot, and a host of detrimental parasites, including exotic lice, meningeal worms, flukes, and barberpole worms are transmitted more efficiently when deer are concentrated in a small area, especially around feeding stations.

From the 2015-2016 sample, prevalence was calculated to be between 10-20% with 95% confidence in bucks 2.5 years-old and older in the Northwest Zone.

Another major concern is the potential for spread of CWD from captive cervid farms into the wild cervid population. Once a disease gets into a wild population, it is virtually impossible eradicate. The only thing that can be done is control the spread of the disease at great expense. KDWPT recommends that every captive cervid operator enroll in the voluntary CWD monitoring program administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Kansas Animal Health Division. The sooner diseases such as CWD can be detected in captives, the sooner control efforts can begin and possibly prevent the spread of disease to wild populations of the state. CWD is only one of many diseases that could go undetected in an unmonitored captive cervid herd. Bovine tuberculosis and Foot and Mouth Disease, for example, are serious diseases that could seriously damage not only populations of deer and an annual 350 million-dollar hunting economy, but could also threaten the 6 billion-dollar Kansas cattle industry via quarantines and loss of accreditation.

For more information about CWD, visiit

CWD Regulations for Kansas and Other States

Click HERE for information concerning CWD Regulations for Resident and Non-Resident Hunters

Links to more information about Chronic Wasting Disease:

National Wildlife Health Center (USGS) Contains links to current research and popular articles such as “The Quiet Spread of CWD” which appeared in Field & Stream.

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Contains links to state regulations regarding CWD carcass

American Veterinary Medical Association Contains information about precautions hunters and anyone who spends time outdoors should take to protect themselves from potential risks.