Hunters warned: Keep chronic wasting disease out of S.C.

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FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2011 file photo, a mature white-tailed deer buck stands alertly in a suburban neighborhood in Moreland Hills, Ohio. An Ohio legislative panel on Wednesday signed off on new deer hunting regulations that cut the number of animals that hunters can kill statewide. The rules also eliminate hunting zone areas and set per-county caps on bag limits. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — As deer season opens up this year, South Carolina game officials are warning hunters: keep chronic wasting disease out of the state.

Hunters in the state should remember not to import certain carcass parts of white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk harvested from places where confirmed cases of the contagious disease have occurred, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.

The fatal neurological disease afflicting members of the deer family has been found in 26 U.S. states — but not South Carolina.

To keep it that way, game officials are maintaining restrictions to prevent certain deer parts from being imported from those states. Officials said hunters should not bring whole deer carcasses, or deer or elk parts containing nervous system tissue, into South Carolina.

The Department of Natural Resources has tested more than 6,000 deer for the disease since 2002, with samples from all 46 counties.

Deer hunting generates more than $200 million for the state’s economy each year.

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