LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a disease that’s fatal to deer.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the disease has spread to 26 states, including Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.
“It’s actually considered the biggest disease threat to members of the deer family in the world," said Johnathan Bordelon, deer program manager for LDWF.
Bordelon said CWD has not proven to be harmful to humans at this time, but that it’s still concerning from a natural resource standpoint.
LDFW has taken several measures to prevent CWD from coming to the state, ranging from banning the importing of live deer from other states to regulations on what parts of a deer carcass can be brought into Louisiana, and, as of July 2, a ban on deer urine products used for hunting.
“Animals can not only transmit it from one to the other, they can also shed the disease into the environment through urine, through feces, through saliva," Bordelon said.
Bordelon said there are some alternatives to deer urine, such as synthetic deer urine, or urine that has been tested for CWD and marked as such.
You can find all of the regulations for CWD HERE.
These bans have affected not only hunters, but also some local businesses, like Steve German’s Taxidermy Art.
“You can’t transport the animals across the state line," said Brett Lunn, a Taxidermist. "Which hurts us, because the people either have to learn how to skin the animals properly to transport them… but that brings in concern of people messing up their capes, and you don’t want them to mess up their trophies.”
Parts of the deer carcass that are not allowed to cross state lines include the brain and spine, as they can carry the disease.
As a solution, Lunn said they have a partnership with a taxidermist in Texas to make sure the deer parts being brought to them are properly cleaned.
As far as deer urine products, Lunn said he does use them, but giving that up is a small price to pay to keep CWD out of Louisiana.
That’s echoed by Tommy Wright, a lifelong hunter.
“I support Wildlife and Fisheries to do what they need to do to make sure we don’t have that disease show up down here," Wright said.
He said the inconvenience of new regulations is nothing compared to potentially losing a massive part of the state’s deer population.