Orange, Culpeper, Madison hunters encouraged to attend meeting on CWD

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CULPEPER, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- An upcoming meeting will focus on Chronic Wasting Disease in deer.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will hold the meeting Aug. 28 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors meeting room.

CWD was confirmed for the first time in Culpeper County in February, which led to the DGIF creating a Disease Management Area that includes the counties of Culpeper, Madison and Orange.

Because of this, there are several regulatory changes within the management area to minimize the spread of the disease.

Among those changes, deer feeding is now prohibited throughout the year, and whole carcasses, as well as certain carcass parts, can be exported from the management area.

DGIF says hunters that are successful within the management area on Nov. 16 will have to submit their deer for CWD testing, but deer taken at any other time of the upcoming hunting season are subject to voluntary CWD testing.

The state agency also says the Earn a Buck program is now in effect on private lands in Culpeper County.

All of this information and more will be discussed at the meeting in two weeks.

CWD has been detected in 26 states and three Canadian provinces, including 68 deer that have tested positive in Virginia since 2009.

It is an incurable, slow and progressive neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose that eventually results in the death of the infected animal.

While symptoms may not appear in an animal for more than a year after exposure, things to watch for include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

There is currently no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to people, livestock or pets, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises hunters to test all deer harvested from known CWD-positive areas and to not eat any of the meat from an animal that does test positive.

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