Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New requirements to reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida

To reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease spreading into Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued an executive order establishing special regulations related to importing deer carcasses, as directed by the Commission at their October meeting in Cape Canaveral. Under Executive Order 19-41, carcasses of deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family may not be imported into Florida from anywhere, except for legally harvested white-tailed deer originating from Georgia or Alabama, provided they meet certain requirements.

Executive Order 19-41, which takes effect Nov. 1, 2019, prohibits importing deer carcasses and parts thereof except for de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; antlers; and hides, skulls, skull caps, and teeth if all soft tissue has been removed. The executive order allows exceptions for white-tailed deer legally harvested in Georgia or Alabama provided the person possesses an FWC Georgia/Alabama Carcass Importation Permit prior to the carcass being imported into Florida; reports the carcass importation within 24 hours of entering Florida using the FWC’s online Georgia/Alabama Carcass Importation Reporting Form; and disposes of any remains using FWC-approved deer carcass disposal options. Learn more about how to comply with the new requirements related to importing deer carcasses.

In addition, white-tailed deer legally harvested from Georgia or Alabama properties that are bisected by the Florida state line and under the same ownership are exempt from importation permit, reporting and disposal requirements.

If CWD is detected in Georgia or Alabama, importing a carcass from that state would be prohibited.

CWD is a transmissible disease of the nervous system that is fatal to deer, elk, moose, caribou and other members of the deer family. It remains undetected in Florida since surveillance measures were initiated in 2002 but is currently found in 26 states. It was most recently detected in Mississippi and Tennessee. The transportation of infected deer, elk, moose and caribou carcasses is one of the known risks for introducing CWD to new areas.

The FWC has been working to protect Florida deer from CWD for years. In 2002, the FWC prohibited importing carcasses of deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family from CWD-affected states and Canadian provinces. In addition, importing live deer, elk, moose, caribou and other members of the deer family into Florida was banned in 2013.

As part of its ongoing CWD surveillance program, the FWC is asking anyone who sees a sick, abnormally thin deer or finds a deer dead from unknown causes to call the CWD hotline, 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282) and report the animal’s location.

Media contact: Tammy Sapp,