Hunters’ help sought for wildlife disease monitoring

Spokane – As part of an ongoing effort to watch for Chronic
Wasting Disease (CWD) the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife (WDFW) is asking deer and elk hunters to submit tissue
from animals harvested east of the Columbia River.

The fatal illness of deer and elk has not yet been detected in
Washington, but it has occurred in at least 15 other states and the
Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. WDFW has tested
over 5,000 animals here over the past 15 years in its
CWD-monitoring efforts.

Hunters can submit their harvest for CWD testing in any of the
following ways:

  • Stop at a WDFW hunter check station off Highway 395 near Deer
    Park or State Route 2 near Chattaroy on most weekends during deer
    seasons.
  • Deposit the head of the harvested animal in a marked collection
    bin at the laboratory building behind the Spokane Valley WDFW
    office, 2315 N. Discovery Place
  • Deposit the head of the harvested animal at the Inland
    Northwest Wildlife Council office, 6116 N. Market St. in Spokane
    during office hours (Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
  • Arrange to have the sample picked up anywhere in Spokane or
    Spokane Valley by calling (509) 989-6224, or in the Tri-Cities area
    by calling (509) 531-2691.
  • The tissue sample requires four inches of neck tissue attached
    to the head. To complete the test, lymph nodes are removed from the
    animal’s neck, said WDFW Veterinarian Kristin Mansfield.

Hunters who submit samples and complete contact-information cards
will be entered into a drawing for a $200 Cabela’s sporting goods
store gift certificate, donated by the Inland Northwest Wildlife
Council, which is also providing the winner a one-year council
membership.

As part of the effort to keep CWD out of Washington, state law
prohibits importation of certain body parts from deer, elk or moose
harvested from locations where CWD occurs. Details of those
restrictions are listed on page 87 of Washington’s 2011 Big Game
Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet. The pamphlet can be
viewed online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

Although there is no scientific evidence at this time that CWD can
be transmitted from deer or elk to humans, hunters should always
follow basic hygienic precautions such as wearing rubber gloves
while field-dressing game, and thoroughly washing hands and
equipment after handling harvested animals, Mansfield advised.

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