Successful deer and elk hunters in Eastern Washington can help scientists monitor for chronic wasting disease by submitting tissue samples.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s ongoing monitoring effort is looking for as many samples as possible from deer and elk harvested east of the Columbia River.
CWD, a fatal illness of deer and elk, has not yet been detected in Washington, but it has occurred in at least 13 other states and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
WDFW has tested more than 5,000 animals in this region for CWD over the last 14 years.
To complete the test, lymph nodes are removed from a deer’s neck or from the brainstem at the base of an elk’s skull, WDFW veterinarian Kristin Mansfield explained. The tissue sample requires 4 inches of neck tissue attached to the head.
Hunters can contribute samples at some hunter check stations during the season.
But most hunters take advantage of two other options for depositing the head of the harvested animal:
• In a marked collection bin at the laboratory building behind the WDFW’s Spokane Region office, 2315 N. Discovery Place in Spokane Valley.
• At the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council office, 6116 N. Market St., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hunters who submit samples and complete contact information cards will be entered into a drawing for a $200 sporting goods store gift certificate donated by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.
The council also is offering the winner a one-year membership to the private, nonprofit regional sportsmen’s organization.