Archived Outdoors

N.C. detects third chronic wasting disease case

A third deer in North Carolina has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, an always-fatal nervous system disease that affects cervids like deer and elk. 

Harvested by a bow hunter in Surry County, the deer was located about 10 miles away from the previous positive detections in Yadkin County, which occurred in December 2021 and August 2022. Because the new detection is so close to the previous two, surveillance areas and regulations related to chronic wasting disease will not change at this time. 

Though the detection is disappointing, it’s an encouraging sign that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s efforts to engage sportsmen in testing deer are working, said Wildlife Management Division Chief Brad Howard. Now more than ever, he said, the Wildlife Commission needs cooperation from the sporting community to test as many hunter-harvested deer as possible and to safely dispose of deer carcasses. 

“Deer hunters must be vigilant and mindful of carcass disposal,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is inadvertently move it to a new location in the state. We continue to stress to don’t give it a ride.”

To dispose of deer carcasses, hunters should bury the remains at the harvest site whenever possible. Alternatives include double-bagging the remains for disposal at the nearest landfill or leaving the deer on the ground where it was harvested. 

Though the disease does not affect people, it is highly transmissible between deer and spreads via saliva, urine and feces when the deer is alive, and through carcass parts once it’s dead. Because the disease takes a long time to reach its fatal conclusion as it spreads through the nervous system, causing spongy holes in the brain, infected deer can appear healthy. 

To learn more about chronic wasting disease and the Wildlife Commission’s response, visit

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