WELLINGTON – This year, hunters can help the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) monitor the status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state’s big game population by having deer and elk tested – for free. Through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), KDWP is able to provide this service to hunters who harvest deer or elk in Kansas.

CWD test stations will be available in Sumner County through KanOkla Fur Co. 114 S. Third St., in South Haven or call (620) 892-5895 and Jay Dee Brown301 E. Lincoln in Wellington or call (620) 326-7020.

When samples are collected for CWD testing, hunters are asked to provide their name, address, phone number, and hunting license number. This information is collected so the hunter can be contacted in case the animal he or she harvested tests positive for CWD. Hunters are also asked to provide the location where they harvested their deer or elk. This information is necessary to prepare a map to show how well an area has been covered, or not covered, during the testing. As a result, our disease investigators know that more effort is needed to collect samples in certain areas of Kansas in order to better assess the likelihood of CWD being present or not.Many individuals and businesses across Kansas are assisting with the important effort of collecting samples for CWD testing. This list will be updated on a weekly basis as more cooperators are added.

The procedure involves extraction of lymph nodes from the throat of the animal. The samples are then submitted to a Kansas State University laboratory for analysis. The animal should be in fairly fresh condition but depending on weather, animals taken a week or two earlier may still be tested.

Hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested simply need to take the animal to one of more than 80 test stations across the state. KDWP will post sampling results on its website once lab analysis is completed. Results should be available in January. The state’s first documented case of CWD in wild deer occurred in December 2005 in a whitetail doe taken in Cheyenne County. KDWP biologists have collected tissue samples from deer taken by Kansas hunters since 1996 to monitor deer herd health. More than 3,000 samples were tested in 2006, with none testing positive for CWD.

CWD attacks the central nervous system of infected animals and is within a group of similar diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). While CWD can spread among deer and elk, it is not known to transmit to humans, livestock, or other animals.

More information on CWD is available in the 2007 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.