The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will staff a voluntary, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) check station at its Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery on the opening weekend of the general, north state deer season Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Successful deer and elk hunters can bring their animals in to be sampled for voluntary disease testing as well as have their tags validated (countersigned) as required by law. The Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery is located at 3 North Old State Road in Mount Shasta. Successful bear hunters can also have their bear tags validated and a bear tooth extracted.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease of cervids such as deer, elk, moose and caribou and spreads through contact with infected animals, tissues and environments. While CWD has infected deer and elk herds in many parts of the country, the disease has not been detected in any of California’s deer or elk herds. In an effort to keep it out of the state or to respond quickly to any disease outbreaks, CDFW will be staffing a number of CWD sampling stations throughout the state where hunters can go to have their harvests sampled for CWD testing during California’s deer seasons.
To test for CWD, staff will collect the animal’s lymph nodes, which are a dime- to quarter-sized pair of tissue, located behind the jaw line along the spine. Hunters who intend to taxidermy their harvest should cape the head out prior to having samples collected but not before tag validation. Hunters can later access their testing results at CDFW’s Chronic Wasting Disease web page. Final test results can take several weeks.
After opening weekend, CDFW’s Yreka field office will offer tag validation and disease screening of both deer and elk by appointment. Contact CDFW’s Axel Hunnicutt for deer testing at (530) 598-6820 or CDFW’s Erin Zulliger for elk testing at (530) 598-6011. Bear tag validations and tooth extraction appointments can be arranged by calling CDFW’s Redding office at (530) 225-2300.