Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-90-293. Game: Deer. Chronic Wasting Disease deer carcass movement restrictions.

Summary

The proposal is to (i) amend the title to reflect that the regulation pertains to all movement of cervid carcasses or parts, (ii) define the term cervid, (iii) prohibit the importation of any cervid carcass or part (with exceptions noted in the regulation) from an enclosure intended to confine deer or elk, (iv) allow the importation of skulls, with or without antlers, and (v) add a new subsection regarding movement of carcass parts from areas designated by the Department for disease management.

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Title change

The change in the regulation title was necessitated by the addition of the new subsection regarding movement of carcass parts from the CWD Containment Area in Virginia to other parts of the state, which would not technically be importation.

Definition of Cervid

In this regulation section and the following section, the word cervid is used to include all members of the deer family as species other than white-tailed deer may be harvested in other states or within CWD areas or come into contact with a rehabilitator that would come under the restrictive conditions found in these regulations.

Prohibit carcasses from enclosures

This provision was added as a proactive measure to prevent hunters from importing carcasses of infected deer or elk harvested inside enclosed hunting facilities in other states, regardless of whether CWD has been detected in such states. During 2012, trace-backs and trace-forwards of breeding stock from CWD-infected hunting enclosures in Pennsylvania and Iowa revealed complex commercial networks implicating hunting enclosures in a number of states where CWD has yet to be detected. Staff have long considered deer farms and deer hunting enclosures to be at high risk for CWD due to high concentrations of deer and frequent comingling of deer among many facilities. Boned-out meat, quarters, clean skulls, or other permitted parts enumerated in the regulation are not prohibited.

Allow skulls to be imported

The Department has received a few requests to import skull mounts including more than just the skull plate. As long as the skull is clean, with all tissue removed, there is little or no risk of moving the disease agent. From a disease perspective, it does not matter whether antlers are attached.

Conformity with Chronic Wasting Disease management actions

Adding the new subsection regarding movement of carcass parts from the CWD Containment Area in Virginia will conform this regulation to the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management actions that have been in effect since April 2010 under the Director's authority per 4VAC15-20-220. Boundaries of the area designated (i.e., Containment Area) and locations where carcasses can be transported were not specified in the regulation so that the Department can update these, as needed, and designate them annually via the hunting law digest, the agency website, and press releases. CWD management actions did not require regulation changes, and changes have not been sought so that management flexibility could be maintained during the first few years following CWD detection in Virginia. However, the absence of regulations related to specific management actions has hindered prosecution of some violations of requirements. Given that the agency's disease management approach is not likely to change in the near future, current management actions can now be established in regulation. If necessary, modifications to management actions can be made under Director's authority between regulation cycles.

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