SALEM, Ore.—Successful hunters, please have your harvested deer or elk checked for Chronic Wasting Disease and follow regulations that prohibit the import of any deer, elk or moose parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon from states or Canadian provinces with CWD.

CWD is an untreatable neurological disease that is always fatal to deer, elk and moose. Oregon is fortunate to be a CWD-free state today as no state or province that has detected CWD in its free-ranging wildlife has been able to eradicate it.

Sampling the animals of successful hunters is one of the major ways ODFW monitors for the disease. There are several ways hunters can provide a sample.

During rifle deer season that starts this weekend or the first bull elk season in late October, hunters can visit one of several eastside check stations where ODFW staff and student volunteers from Oregon State University and Washington State University will be available to take samples. Check stations are generally open from dawn until dusk; look for highway signs indicating stations are open.

Buck deer, Sept. 29–Oct. 1

  • I-84 West at Biggs Junction
  • Prineville weigh station (just east of Prineville on Hwy 26)
  • Highway 20 in Burns
  • La Pine (Junction of Highways 97 and 31)

First bull elk season, Oct. 27-28

  • Prineville weigh station (just east of Prineville on Hwy 26)
  • I-84 West at Biggs Junction

Southwest region hunters can visit information booths located at several popular highway junctions during the opening weekends of buck rifle and Cascade elk seasons (Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 20-21). Regional staff, who are at the booths to talk with hunters, can also obtain a sample for CWD testing.

Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 20-21 (booths open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

  • Lemolo Lake Road at Hwy 138 east
  • Steamboat Creek Road at Hwy 138 east
  • Little River Road at the Peel Store
  • Bear Market on the South Umpqua Road/Hwy 227 junction in Tiller

Additionally, ODFW staff will be out in the field during the opening weekends of deer rifle and bull elk seasons to talk with hunters. Successful hunters that encounter ODFW staff can provide a sample then. Finally, beginning Monday Oct. 1, successful hunters can contact their nearest ODFW office and set up a time to stop by and provide a sample from the head of their animal.

Hunting out of state? Follow CWD regulations

Hunters traveling to other states are also reminded that it is illegal to bring deer, elk or moose parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon from any state or province with a documented case of the disease (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia and Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada).

“Oregon State Police will aggressively investigate all incidents of illegal importation of parts or wildlife from CWD-infected states,” said Lieutenant Dave Cleary, OSP Fish & Wildlife Division. “All parts that possibly could have neurological tissue attached will be seized and destroyed of appropriately.”

Last year, OSP cited several hunters for failing to remove brain tissue before bringing their deer or elk back into Oregon. In one instance, hunters from Colorado had the antlers of their large bull elk seized because they had failed to remove brain matter and tissue on the skull cap.

The reason for the concern is evidence that prions, the agents that cause CWD, last a long time in the environment. Some hunters dispose of heads or spinal columns on the landscape where other wildlife could encounter the prions and contract the disease.

“We don’t want to inadvertently allow the disease to get into Oregon via hunter-harvested deer and elk from states or provinces that have CWD-infected animals,” said ODFW Wildlife Veterinarian Colin Gillin,

The following parts may still be imported into Oregon: 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. To see a demonstration of how to properly bone out an animal and remove central nervous system tissue, visit www.cwd-info.org/index.php/fuseaction/recommendations.video

No evidence suggests that Chronic Wasting Disease can be transmitted to people. Nevertheless, hunters should always take simple precautions to protect themselves from exposure to wildlife diseases. Hunters should not harvest animals that appear sick; wear rubber or latex gloves when field dressing an animal; trim all meat to remove fat and lymph gland tissue; and only consume meat that has been thoroughly cooked to at least 165 degrees.

For more information on CWD, visit the web site of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance http://www.cwd-info.org/