SALEM, Ore. — ODFW will host a check station to sample elk for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during Western Coast elk first season on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to dusk in Blodgett. The location is a large gravel parking lot at the junction of State Highway 20 and County Road 180 (44.59741, -123.51990), on the north side of the highway.
Big game hunters who tag an elk and are in the area should stop by. New this year, hunters transporting deer, elk or other wildlife parts who encounter a signed CWD check station are required to stop to have their animal inspected (per HB 3152 passed by Oregon’s legislature last year).
Successful hunters who don’t make it to the Blodgett check station can also contact their local ODFW office to arrange for district staff to get a sample or ask their meat processor or taxidermist. Find a list of participating ODFW offices and businesses at https://myodfw.com/articles/other-ways-get-your-animal-tested-cwd.
Remember to call ahead and make an appointment at an ODFW office in advance as biologists are often in the field. Some offices will have barrels outside so hunters can submit a head after hours; use bags and ID card to provide ODFW ID number, contact information, and harvest location. See list of offices taking samples online.
The sample will be collected from the animal’s spinal column near the brain, and the lymph nodes from near the pharynx or upper throat region. The animal’s head should be kept cool prior to sampling if possible.
Test results are expected to take up to a month. If an animal ever tests positive for CWD, a biologist or veterinarian will phone the hunter directly. Negative test results will be posted by ODFW ID number for hunters to individually check online at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/CWD-testing/
ODFW has sampled more than 24,000 deer and elk for CWD over the past 20 years as the disease began to spread from Colorado and Wyoming to other states due to animal migrations and movements of live animals and carcasses by people. Oregon’s surveillance effort has not detected CWD in free-ranging deer, elk or moose within our borders. Unfortunately, it was found in mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and white-tailed deer in NW Idaho, just 30 miles from the Oregon border, late last year.
The more animals the state tests, the more certain ODFW can be that the disease is not in the state. If it is detected, ODFW can implement its response plan to contain the spread of the disease.
Once an animal is infected, it can take several years for symptoms to appear, so in most cases deer and elk that test positive for the disease will appear normal and healthy. That’s why ODFW tests as many animals as it can, including both hunter-harvested and roadkilled deer and elk.
For more information on CWD visit https://myodfw.com/CWD.