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Can You Transport Deer Meat Across State Lines

picture of a truck (blue)

You’ve bagged a deer and are ready to take it home. But what if you’re crossing state lines?

Laws about transporting deer meat are in place to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and to maintain a healthy deer population across all states.

Generally, you can move cut and wrapped meat, boned-out meat, and other parts.

However, rules vary between states, and it’s your job to know them.

Before packing up your venison, let’s dissect the specifics around transporting deer meat across state lines.

States Affected by Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


CWD is a prion disease, similar to mad cow disease, affecting deer, elk, moose, and caribou.

Here’s a list of states in the United States where CWD has been detected last update in December 2023:

United States

StateFree-ranging cervidsCaptive cervids
New MexicoY
New YorkYY
North CarolinaY
North DakotaY
South DakotaYY
West VirginiaYY

Note: “Y” indicates the presence of cervids in the respective category.

Additionally, there have been cases in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan in Canada.

Understanding Chronic Wasting Disease

To understand the regulations around transporting deer meat, you’ve got to first get a handle on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

This disease, confirmed in 26 states and abroad, has led to stricter rules for moving deer across state lines.

It’s why some states ban transporting parts like skull caps or vertebrates.

The Lacey Act further prohibits hauling illegally taken wildlife across states. So, what can you carry?

Usually cut, wrapped meat, quarters without the spine or head, boned-out meat, and clean hides are okay.

It’s all about stopping the spread of CWD, and you play a part.

State Regulations for Deer Transportation

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the specific state regulations for transporting deer meat, as these laws vary significantly.

Before you transport deer meat across state lines, consider these key points:

  • Each state has different game laws related to hunting and transportation.
  • Some states require testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) before interstate transport of high-risk parts.
  • Violating these laws can lead to severe penalties, including fines and forfeiture of your deer meat.
  • Certain parts of the deer, like the spine and brain, are considered high-risk and may be prohibited.
  • Compliance with these regulations is crucial to protect local deer populations from the spread of CWD.

Understanding these regulations can help ensure your hunting trip stays enjoyable and legal.

Precautions in CWD-Positive States

If you’re hunting in a state where CWD has been confirmed, taking certain precautions when transporting deer meat is crucial.

Regulations are designed to prevent disease spread, particularly among cervidae.

Before transporting deer meat across state lines, ensure compliance with these rules.

Understanding the guidelines for legal deer transport is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure you’re not contributing to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

These typically allow the transport of:

  • Cut and wrapped meat
  • Quarters without the spinal column or head
  • Boned out meat
  • Hides without heads
  • Clean skull plates with antlers
  • Antlers without tissue
  • Upper canine teeth
  • Finished taxidermy

Before you go…

So, can you transport deer meat across state lines?

Yes, but there’s a catch. You’ve got to be mindful of Chronic Wasting Disease, adhere to state regulations, and properly prepare your deer meat for transport.

Remember, it’s not just about your hunting success but also about protecting our wildlife.

So, before hitting the road, ensure you’re up to speed on the rules.

Happy hunting, and safe travels!


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