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 are located across the state for the convenience of hunters wishing to have deer or elk tested. The CWD screening test is a tool used to aid KDWP in guarding the health of the Kansas deer herd. It is not a test of food safety. Hunters can find the nearest CWD test station online at the KDWP website.
Numerous individuals around the state are working with the department and hunters to collect tissue samples from deer. 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.