By Megan Kirchgessner, DVM, PhD, DWR State Wildlife Veterinarian
DWR is continuing to track the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). We expect to stay very busy this fall and winter testing more than 5,000 deer! CWD is a fatal disease of deer and elk that has been confirmed in 10 counties in Virginia. While CWD was detected for the first time in northwestern Virginia in 2010, and has since spread to multiple surrounding counties, a second disease focus was detected in 2020 in Montgomery County. For the 2021–22 deer hunting season, 14 counties are included in one of three Disease Management Areas (DMA): DMA1 (Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties), DMA2 (Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, and Rappahannock counties), and DMA3 (Floyd, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties).
Important items that hunters should be aware of during this hunting season include the following:
- Voluntary CWD testing: Deer head drop sites are located throughout each DMA for the entire duration of the deer hunting season. DWR encourages any hunters that harvest a deer in a DMA to get their deer tested for CWD. Find locations of voluntary deer testing sites.
- Mandatory CWD testing is scheduled for November 13 for the following counties: Shenandoah, Madison, Orange, Floyd, Montgomery, and Pulaski. Deer harvested in these counties on November 13 must be brought to a DWR CWD sample station. Find locations of sample stations.
- A virtual CWD Q&A with DWR deer management, law enforcement, administrative, and wildlife health program staff will be held on October 19 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Questions may be proposed from October 7 until October 11. A live chat will be running concurrently with the Q&A and DWR staff will be available to answer questions in real-time. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel!
- There are a variety of new hunting regulations that pertain to DMA counties and take effect this hunting season. Read more about the new regulations.
DWR relies on hunter participation for both CWD management and monitoring efforts. Thank you in advance for your support this upcoming season and we hope to “see” you on October 19!