Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


Attention Hunters

Be Aware! Rules and regulations prohibit the transfer of certain game animal parts across state borders. See the CWD page in your Regs booklet or RCW 77.15.290 and 77.15.160.

Please help WDFW monitor the health of our deer, moose and elk populations by reporting animals that appear sick.

For more information on CWD and hunting, please click here.


Texas and Missouri report positive CWD results.
-Sep 2012

Hunters take note: Law restricts game carcasses from out-of-state
-Aug 2009

Hunters reminded to review safety procedures, state rules before heading afield
-Oct 2008

Wildlife officials urge hunters to follow rules on import of bone-in deer, elk carcasses
-Sep 2005

Hunters could face penalties on import of some bone-in deer, elk carcasses
- Aug 2004

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal illness of deer, elk, and moose. The disease is caused by prions (mutated proteins), which can be transmitted between animals through their saliva, urine, and potentially feces and bodily fluids. CWD has not been found in Washington's wildlife, despite having tested thousands of animals since 1995. However, the disease can be brought to new locations through the movement of infected animals or animal parts such as bone, organs, and bodily fluids. Once present in the environment, the prions can persist for many years and are very difficult to deactivate. CWD has been found in animals in 27 different states and provinces in North America. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions webpage for more information.

Hunter Precautions

Chronic wasting disease has not been found in Washington, and there currently is no scientific evidence of CWD being transmitted from animals to humans. However, hunters who wish to take additional precautions may choose to avoid consuming the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, pancreas, or lymph nodes of harvested deer and elk, since the CWD prion accumulates in these tissues. As always, WDFW advises hunters to avoid harvesting any animal that appears sick or is behaving strangely, to wear rubber gloves while field dressing game, and to thoroughly wash hands and equipment after processing carcasses. For more information on CWD and hunting, click here.

Map of North American CWD Distribution
Click on map for enlargement