What it is: A neurological disease caused by an infected protein called a prion. Free-ranging whitetail deer in 23 states have tested positive.
How it spreads: By direct contact between animals. Also, by indirect contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, carcass parts of an infected animal and even contaminated soil or plants.
Know the symptoms: Extreme weight loss, lack of coordination, drooping head and ears, excessive drooling, excessive drinking and excessive urination.
What you can do: Find out if deer in the area where you plan to hunt have a history of being CWD-positive. Do that by checking with your state wildlife agency. Dispose of any part of a deer from an infected area at a sanitary landfill. Even better, voluntarily provide the deer for testing. Report any sick or disoriented animals to the state wildlife agency.
Know these facts: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has thoroughly investigated any connection between CWD animals and human neurological diseases, noting the risk of infection among hunters is extremely small, if it exists at all. However, public health officials recommend avoiding exposure to infected deer as research continues to evolve.