As I have said many times here on the blog and on TV, the days of shooting a buck, loading it whole into your pickup and driving home across a state line are gone.

Likewise, shooting a buck out West or up in Canada and driving or flying home with a cape with head/skull attached is a thing of the past.

The threat and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has forever changed how we go about getting our deer out of the woods and back to the house. Before you go hunting this season, it is vitally important that you read this, go to your state’s website and double-check for specific information and then follow deer-transport rules to the letter of the law.

The last thing you want is for conservation officers to confiscate your deer (picture) and hand you a fine!

The following information is from a joint statement from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), but it applies similarly to all states across the country.

As the 2019 seasons open, the ADCNR and TWRA remind hunters that it is illegal to import whole carcasses and certain body parts of any species of deer into either state (and again, most all states).

The import ban on deer in Alabama and Tennessee is part of a larger effort throughout the country to prevent the spread of CWD, a fatal neurological disease of whitetails and other deer species, including mule deer, elk and moose.

“Working closely with our counterparts in neighboring states is one of the best ways we can prevent the spread of CWD,” said Chris Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner. “It is vital to the health of our deer herd that out-of-state hunters know and follow the hunting regulations in both the state in which they live and the state in which they plan to hunt.”

Under the import bans, no person may import, transport, or possess a carcass or body part from any species of deer harvested anywhere outside of either state without properly processing it before bringing it home.

As a rule anywhere in North America for the 2019 seasons, proper and legal processing of a deer before transport includes:

1) Completely deboning meat and carrying it in game bags, a cooler, etc.

2) Completely cleaning skull plates with attached antlers, so no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; you cannot carry a complete skull across state lines, for example if you want to get a European mount

3) Raw capes are okay for transport, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present

4) Mounted deer and fully finished taxidermy products and tanned hides are legal

5) Velvet antlers are illegal to import into Alabama and some other states unless they are part of a finished taxidermy product (a raw velvet buck that you shot, say, this September in Kentucky is not transportable

“Our greatest allies in the fight against CWD are hunters,” said Chuck Yoest, CWD coordinator for TWRA, who speaks for wildlife managers across North America. “With hunters’ assistance we can help keep CWD from spreading, keep the number of diseased deer to a minimum, and reduce disease rates where possible.”

And protect the future of deer hunting.