ELGIN/BAKER CITY – (Release from ODFW) ODFW reminds hunters that Chronic Wasting Disease check stations are mandatory to stop at if you pass one along the highway or interstate while transporting a harvested deer or elk.
CWD check stations will be open Nov. 4 to Nov. 6 at Celilo Park, Prineville, Elgin and Baker City providing hunters with quick and easy opportunities to have their harvested animal tested. For a list of CWD check station locations, ODFW offices and other ways to get your deer or elk tested, such as at a taxidermist or meat processor, visit: https://myodfw.com/CWD.
CWD was detected in northern Idaho in 2021 near the Oregon border. It is always fatal to deer and elk and there is no cure. If it is detected, ODFW will implement its response plan to contain the spread of CWD.
“CWD has not yet been detected in Oregon, but we are continuing to collect samples from any possible deer and elk across the state.” said Ashley Harper, ODFW CWD biologist. “With the disease being found in Idaho and so close to our border, it is very likely for it appear in our state from a variety of routes.”
Deer and elk that have CWD can spread the disease, and even contaminate soil with the prions that cause CWD for years, before showing any symptoms. That is why ODFW has surveilled deer and elk herds for CWD for more than 20 years by testing approximately 27,000 hunter-harvested, road-killed, and other deceased animals.
“Without the support of the hunting community, we would not be able to stay ahead of CWD spreading in Oregon,” continued Harper. “We need every hunter to have their deer or elk tested so that we have the potential to detect the disease and control its spread early on.”
How to get your deer or elk tested for CWD and see results online:
Some offices will have drop-off barrels outside so hunters can submit a head after hours; use bags and ID card to provide ODFW ID number and contact information. See list of ODFW offices taking samples.
Test results are expected to take up to a month.
If an animal tests positive for CWD, a biologist or veterinarian will contact the hunter directly. Test results will be posted by ODFW ID number or roadkill salvage confirmation number online at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/CWD-testing/.
What is CWD and can humans get it?
Chronic Wasting Disease affects members of the cervid family such as deer, elk, and moose. It is an always fatal, infectious disease caused by a protein called a prion. It is spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals and through urine, feces, blood, and saliva. The more animals are congregated, the easier it is for CWD to pass from one animal to another, which is why baiting and feeding deer and elk is a risky practice and highly discouraged to prevent disease spread.
The disease-causing prions are shed in feces and urine by live infected animals or in the carcasses of animals who died infected with the disease. Prions can also persist in soil for years, potentially infecting other animals into the future. Many states, including Oregon, ban the import of certain animal parts, such as brain and spinal column, from other states (see Parts Ban for more info). This regulation limits the chance that infected brain or spinal column will be discarded on the landscape to potentially infect an Oregon animal.
Infected animals can spread the disease for several years before showing symptoms which include loss of balance, drooling, emaciation or wasting. Testing apparently healthy deer and elk early in the course of the disease when they are not showing symptoms is the most effective method of detection before an animal has spread the disease across the landscape and to other animals.
There is currently no evidence that humans can contract CWD from eating or handling meat from an animal infected with the disease. However, humans are susceptible to other similar diseases such as Mad Cow disease (from the cattle form of this prion disease) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is a naturally occurring human-form of a similar prion disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends caution and provides information on preventative steps hunters can take to be as safe as possible.