[ODFW-News] CWD check stations help protect Oregon wildlife

ODFW News Odfw.News at state.or.us
Mon Oct 10 17:05:00 PDT 2005

For Immediate Release Monday, Oct. 10, 2005

CWD check stations help protect Oregon wildlife

SALEM - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials today reminded
successful deer and elk hunters to bring their animals through ODFW
check stations as part of the state's effort to monitor for Chronic
Wasting Disease. 

While the disease has not been found in Oregon wildlife to date, ODFW
scientists note that CWD is spreading and now infects deer and elk in 14
states and two Canadian provinces. CWD is an untreatable, always fatal
neurological disease of deer and elk. It was confirmed for the first
time in a moose in Colorado Sept. 29.
Chronic wasting disease is part of a unique family of chronic
neurological diseases called prion diseases or transmissible spongiform
encephalopathies. The disease was recognized more than 30 years ago as a
syndrome in a state wildlife research facility in Colorado. Its natural
hosts include mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and now moose. Sheep and
cattle have not been found to be naturally susceptible to CWD. Although
similar to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or "Mad Cow Disease,"
CWD is a disease of the deer family and is not infective or
transmissible to people. More information is available on p. 53 of the
2005 Oregon big game hunting regulations.

Participation at central and eastern Oregon deer check stations last
weekend was reportedly good. Biologists checked 128 mule deer during the
Oct. 1-3 firearm deer opener. Samples gathered from hunter-harvested
deer will be sent to laboratories for testing. 

Eastern Oregon bull elk hunters are reminded of check stations that will
be open Oct. 29-30 east of Prineville on US Highway 26 and in LaGrande.
Hunters who plan to take their animals to taxidermy are advised to cape
their deer to the base of the head and inform check station workers upon

Sampling of black-tailed deer continues throughout western Oregon, where
hunters are encouraged to bring their harvested deer to any ODFW field

"We are asking hunters to bring their deer and elk carcasses to
biological check stations or their nearest ODFW office to be sampled for
chronic wasting disease," said Colin Gillin, ODFW state wildlife
veterinarian.  "ODFW District Wildlife Biologists also will be
collecting samples during their field hunter checks." 

Oregon deer and elk hunters are reminded of some simple precautions to
protect them from exposure to animal diseases. Hunters should not shoot
animals that appear sick. All meat should be trimmed to remove fat, and
only red meat that has been thoroughly cooked should be consumed.  

CWD is present in wild populations of deer and elk, and occurs in farmed
deer and elk maintained for agricultural purposes. CWD currently is
found in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New
Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin,
Wyoming and Utah, as well as the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

Observations of infected deer and elk in captivity indicate that the
disease is highly contagious. However, the exact mechanism of
transmission has not been identified. CWD likely exits the animal in
saliva or feces and then re-infects susceptible deer and elk by direct
contact between animals or by environmental contamination.
Another concern and avenue for the introduction of CWD into the state is
via hunter-harvested deer and elk from states or provinces that have
CWD-infected animals. Precautionary measures taken to protect Oregon 's
wildlife from CWD and keep the disease from entering Oregon include a
ban on deer and elk carcass parts containing central nervous system
tissue from animals killed in states or provinces with a documented case
of CWD. 

The following parts may be imported: 
Meat cut and wrapped commercially or privately; 
Meat that has been boned out; 
Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or
head attached; 
Hides and/or capes with no head attached; 
Skull plates with antlers attached that have been cleaned of all meat
and brain tissue (velvet antlers are allowed); 
Antlers with no tissue attached (velvet antlers are allowed); 
Upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers and ivories); and 
Finished taxidermy heads. 

Hunters traveling to other states or Canada are advised to thoroughly
read local hunting regulations to be sure they comply with that state or
Province's requirements for evidence of sex, transport, and tagging.

Voluntary check stations will be manned from dawn to dusk and signs will
be located along the highway to identify check station locations. The
locations and dates of voluntary CWD check stations where hunters may
bring carcasses to be sampled for chronic wasting disease are:

* Prineville check station: Oct. 29-30, located at the Prineville weigh
station, just east of Prineville on US Highway 26.
* LaGrande Region check station: Oct. 29-30, located at the Animal
Health Center, 10302 Oregon Highway 82 in Island City.
Additional check stations may be set up at other locations throughout
the course of hunting seasons. ODFW will provide additional
notifications as check stations are opened. 

For more information on CWD or ODFW check stations, call ODFW biologist
Don Whittaker at 503-947-6300, or ODFW wildlife veterinarian Colin
Gillin at 541-757-4186.
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