Chronic Wasting Disease

The first case of CWD was found in a captive bull elk in Harper County in 2001. As of 25 February 2019, CWD has been detected in 216 cervids - one captive elk and 215 wild, free-ranging deer in Deer Management Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 16, 17, 18. These include 24 mule deer,190 white-tailed deer, 1 captive elk, and 1 unknown deer species. Surveillance efforts began in 1996 and, to date, 27,117 cervids have been sampled and tested for CWD. 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. HUNTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE ELECTRONIC DEER CHECK-IN, BONE-OUT DEER, AND LEAVE CARCASSES IN THE COUNTIES WERE DEER WERE TAKEN. MOVING CARCASSES MOVES PRIONS! 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, the transferring of CWD prions to healthy deer is not the only concern. Diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, foot rot, and fungal infections; and a host of detrimental parasites, including exotic lice, flukes, mange mites, lungworms, and barberpole worms are transmitted more efficiently when deer are concentrated in a small area, especially around feeding stations.

After the 2015-2016 seasons, prevalence was calculated to be between 10-20% with 95% confidence in bucks 2.5 years-old and older in the Northwest Zone. KDWPT will once again be sampling hunter-harvested deer taken in the Northwest Zone during the 2019-2020 hunting seasons. Currently, the overall trend is showing increasing prevalence and eastward spread.

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 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 (FMD), 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, loss of accreditation, and loss of global export.

IMPORTANT: Help Control the Spread of CWD and CWD Prions in Kansas!!

1. Use Electronic Deer Check-In.

2. Remove the musculature (deboning) from the carcass and leave the carcass, of the deer/elk you harvest, at the kill site. Make sure to complete Step 1 first.

3. Do not transport a carcass from counties known to have CWD (see map above) to other counties. Use electronic deer check-in:

4. If Electronic Deer Check-In is not an option, consider taking or sending the boned-out carcass to your county landfill for disposal.

5. Keep the permit with the meat.

For more information about CWD, visit the CWD Alliance website at

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) has links to current research and popular articles such as “The Quiet Spread of CWD” which appeared in Field & Stream.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about CWD and humans.

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

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