New rules for bringing hunter-harvested deer and elk into Arizona

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

July 10, 2013

As part of the efforts to prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease (CWD) into the state, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has implemented new rules for hunters and other members of the public who wish to bring cervids (deer, elk and moose) harvested from another state into Arizona.

The new rules, which are part of the department's amended Article 3 rules that took effect July 1, specify that an individual who lawfully takes a cervid in another state or country may possess, transport, or import into Arizona ONLY the following portions of the animal:

Boneless portions of meat, or meat that has been cut and packaged;
Clean hides and capes with no skull or soft tissue attached, except as required for proof of legality;
Clean skulls with antlers, clean skull plates, or antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached; Upper canine teeth with no meat or tissue attached; and

Finished taxidermy mounts or products. Hunters and others who plan on bringing any harvested deer, elk or moose back into Arizona should take the following precautions:

Bone out the meat and package it (either commercially or privately); do not cut into the spinal cord or remove the head; do not quarter (or other method) the carcass with any of the spinal column or head attached.
Do not bring the brain, intact skull, or spinal cord back into Arizona.
If you wish to take the antlers attached to the skull plate, thoroughly scrape and clean tissue from the skull plate using a knife or brush and bleach. Thoroughly clean all utensils afterwards with bleach. Sawn-off antlers, with or without velvet, do not need further treatment.
Animal skins or capes without skull or soft tissue attached do not need any further treatment.
Upper canine teeth of elk ("ivories") with no meat or tissue attached do not need further treatment.
Finished, taxidermied heads do not require further treatment.
Chronic wasting disease is a neurological wildlife disease that affects cervids (deer, elk and moose). To date, no evidence has been found to indicate that CWD affects humans but research is continuing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Arizona Game and Fish has been monitoring for the presence of CWD in the state since 1998 and has tested 17,000 samples since that time. Although testing has not found CWD to be present in Arizona, it is in the neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. The new rules are another safeguard to try to keep it out of Arizona.

For more information on CWD, visit or

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