ODFW reminds hunters: Get your deer or elk sampled at CWD check stations
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Successful hunters who drive by one of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's check stations in Prineville or Celilo Park during deer and elk hunting seasons are asked to stop to have their animal tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Hunters driving by the locations below will see highway signs alerting them that the check station is operating and can pull off the highway to get their animal sampled.
ODFW staff at the check stations will take a lymph and brain tissue samples from the animal's head and a tooth for aging. Hunters can expect to hear back on the animal's age within a few months.
CWD check stations will operate at the following locations and times for the 2021 season:
Sunday, Oct. 3 and Monday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m. through dusk (deer season)
- I-84 West at Celilo Park (exit 97)
- Prineville weigh station, just east of Prineville on Hwy, 26 (also operating Saturday Oct. 2 in the afternoon).
Saturday, Oct. 30, Sunday Oct. 31 and Monday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. through dusk (elk season)
- I-84 West at Celilo Park (exit 97)
- Prineville weigh station (just east of Prineville on Hwy. 26)
Hunters who visit a check station will be asked to wear a mask and maintain safe social distances, in keeping with statewide Covid safety measures.
Hunters who do not pass a check station but wish to have their animal tested can call their local ODFW office to arrange a time to provide a sample.
What is CWD?
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose in some parts of North America. A type of prion protein is believed to cause the disease, which damages portions of the animal's brain and causes progressive loss of body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation and eventual death.
The disease has never been detected in Oregon. But early detection is critical for slowing its spread should it be found, so ODFW wildlife biologists and veterinary staff have been monitoring the state's deer and elk herds for the disease for many years now. Any deer or elk salvaged under the state's roadkill law is also tested for CWD.
HB 3152 makes stopping mandatory in 2022
While stopping at the CWD check station is currently voluntary, beginning next year it will be mandatory.
HB 3152, a bill introduced by the Oregon Hunters Association and passed by the 2021 Oregon State Legislature, makes stopping at a CWD check station you drive by mandatory beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
More details about mandatory check stations will be available next year. But ODFW expects to continue to operate a station off I-84, in Prineville and possibly at additional locations.
Successful hunters who pass one of the stations will be required to stop and could be cited for a wildlife violation if they fail to do so.
Out-of-state hunters: Follow CWD regulations
Hunters planning to hunt in another state are also reminded that it is illegal to bring deer, elk or moose parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon from any other state or province. The parts can contain prions that cause CWD.
The following parts can be brought 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 or capes with no head attached; skull plates with antlers attached that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; antlers (including velvet antlers) with no tissue attached; upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers and ivories); and finished taxidermy heads.
In addition to fines, possible jail time and hunting suspension, the person who imports parts in violation of the parts and carcass ban pays for appropriate disposal of the parts.
Because the prions that cause CWD can last a long time in the environment, it's important that these parts are incinerated in a suitable facility and not just left on the landscape, where they could infect other animals.
Most other states have similar regulations, so if you harvest an animal in Oregon, don't bring these parts back to your home state. More information about CWD is available at https://myodfw.com/articles/cwd-what-hunters-can-do