As deer hunting season begins, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is issuing a warning about a dangerous neurological disease. To wipe out this untreatable disease that attacks the brain, the DEC is asking hunters about their urine.

Bowhunting has already started in the Adirondacks and North Country. October 1 is the start of bowhunting in the Southern Zone, which includes the Capital Region and the bottom half of Upstate. Regular hunting in the Northern Zone starts October 22 and in the Southern Zone on November 19.

What Is Chronic Wasting Disease?

New York State's 2022 Deer Hunting Season Schedule By Region.

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is an always-fatal, easily-transferred disease spread between deer, elk, and moose that spreads through a protein in urine, tissues, saliva, and waste. This is especially important as some hunters use deer urine to cover their scents and lure other deer.

In 2005, Chronic Wasting Disease was found in an Oneida County deer. After a million-dollar culling, New York is the only state to successfully combat the disease and remove it from the state. Since then, New York DEC and hunters have kept CWD at bay, even as it spreads across the country to neighboring states and Canada.

A map showing CWD's spread through deer population by state.

These are the warning signs of Chronic Wasting Disease:

  • Disorientation
  • Appearing abnormally weak or thin
  • Loss of Bodily Functions
  • Extreme thirst

If you see a deer exhibiting these traits or find a dead deer that appears emaciated, call the nearest regional DEC wildlife office to make a report. These signs aren’t a guarantee of a CWD infection, but need to be reported.

The DEC's #1 Rule


Photo Credit - Chris Williams/Thinkstock

Cost notwithstanding, obviously any necessary culling by NYDEC would have a significant negative impact on hunting. Instead of natural deer urine that comes from potentially CWD-infected captive deer, the DEC recommends synthetic scents to lure deer.

Also, don’t feed wild deer, as a group of animals grouped and feeding for an extended time increases the likelihood of sharing a disease. Hunters also must follow all proper meat, hide, antler, and taxidermy laws when importing deer killed out of state.

PICTURES: See Inside Kevin Costner's Spectacular Colorado Ranch

Yellowstone star Kevin Costner lives the ranch life when he's off the set of the hit show, too. The Oscar-winning actor owns a 160-acre ranch in Aspen, Colo., that's a spectacular getaway, complete with a main residence, a lake house and a river house.

The luxury retreat also features a baseball field, a sledding hill, an ice rink, multiple hot tubs and views of the Continental Divide. The ranch property comfortably sleeps 27 people, and it's currently available to rent for 36,000 a night.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Inside The Crocodile Hunter Lodge at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo

Take a look inside the new resort at the Australia Zoo.

More From 107.7 WGNA