DWR asks deer hunters to visit check stations to test for disease
SALT LAKE CITY – As a standard part of general deer hunting, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is again encouraging hunters to take their harvested deer to various stations across the state for DWR biologists to test for chronic wasting diseases.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a relatively rare communicable disease that affects the nervous systems of deer, elk, and elk. The disease was first discovered in Utah in 2002 in a buck deer picked up during a rifle hunt near Vernal. Currently, 124 mule deer and 3 moose have tested positive for CWD in Utah. However, it is not widespread in the state and is only found in six hunting units in Utah – mainly in some counties in central, northeast, and southeastern Utah.
The disease is caused by a protein particle called a prion that attaches to the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by the same type of particle as “mad cow disease” in cows. Infected animals develop brain lesions, become emaciated, appear listless and have lop ears. You can also drool excessively and eventually die.
Infected animals can excrete prions with urine, feces and saliva. It can be transmitted directly through contact with an infected animal or indirectly through environmental pollution. (A dead carcass can contaminate the soil.) Prions are extremely resilient in the environment and can remain infectious for years.
While the Centers for Disease Control say the risk of animal transmission to humans is considered extremely low, they recommend not consuming meat from animals infected with chronic waste disease.
DWR is establishing surveillance checkpoints on all hunting units in the state – every five years – to screen deer populations for chronic wasting diseases. Hunters who go to the control stations will receive a free CWD test if they have killed a deer on any of the units that are being sampled this year. Hunters must leave about six inches of the animal’s neck and trachea below the jaw so DWR staff can remove the lymph nodes for sampling.
DWR staff will also ask the hunter a few questions, including about the location where the animal was harvested. The entire process only takes a few minutes.
Hunters who want to harvest an animal in a non-target sampling unit but still wish to have their deer or elk screened for chronic wasting can do so by making the animal’s head available to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Logan or Spanish Fork and pay a test fee of $ 25. Deer and elk must be over a year old to be admitted to the test.
“We take CWD’s presence in Utah seriously and will continue to conduct extensive surveillance to keep an eye on the disease and its prevalence in the state,” said DWR State Wildlife Veterinary Ginger Stout. “We ask hunters to stop at our control stations if they catch a deer in the sampling units to help us with our CWD surveillance in Utah.”
This year the CWD surveillance control stations and sampling units will be located here:
The DWR offers free CWD testing for deer from the Box Elder, Morgan-South Rich, East Canyon and Chalk Creek units at the following locations:
The DWR office Ogden (only by appointment) in 515 E. 5300 Süd from 25.-29. October and November 1st every day from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call 801-476-2740 to schedule an appointment outside of these dates and times.
Snowville at the intersection of I-84 and Highway 30 October 23-24, approximately 10 a.m. until sunset every day.
The Mountain Green Rest Area on I-84 west from October 23-24, approximately 10 a.m. until sunset daily.
Hunters can also call the DWR Ogden office at 801-476-2740 for a list of meat processors and taxidermists in the area who also take CWD samples, along with the processing of the meat or taxidermy.
The DWR will offer free CWD testing for deer harvested from the North Slope; South Slope, Yellowstone; South slope, spring; South Slope, Diamond Mt; Book Cliffs, North; and Nine Mile, Anthro units at the following locations:
The DWR Vernal office (by appointment only) at 318 N. Vernal Ave. October 25-29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 453-781-9453 to make an appointment.
Located near Strawberry Reservoir, at the intersection of US Highway 40 and Co-op Creek Road (between mile markers 41 and 42) October 23-25, approximately 9 a.m. until dark every day.
North of Vernal on US Highway 191 at the Steinaker Reservoir rest stop (near mile marker 358) October 23-25, approximately 9 a.m. until dark every day.
West of Manila on SR 43 (between mile markers 4 and 3) October 23-25, approximately 9 a.m. until dark every day.
Hunters can also call the DWR Vernal office at 435-781-9453 for a list of taxidermists and meat processors in the area who also take CWD samples, along with the processing of the meat or taxidermy.
The DWR will offer free CWD testing for deer harvested from Central Mtns, Manti; Oquirrh-Stansbury; West Desert, Vernon; West desert, west; and West Desert, Tintic units at the following locations:
The DWR Salt Lake Office at 1594 W. North Temple, October 25-29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 385-368-1672 to schedule an appointment outside of these dates.
In the Spanish Fork Canyon (near the Covered Bridge community) October 23-25, daily from approximately 9 a.m. until dark.
Santaquin (exit 242 on the east side of the motorway) October 23-25, from 9 a.m. to dark.
In Tooele: Appointments are available by SMS at 385-208-6211 for sample collection.
Hunters can also call the DWR Springville office at 801-491-5678 for a list of taxidermists and meat processors in the area who also take CWD samples, along with the processing of the meat or taxidermy.
The DWR will offer free CWD testing for deer harvested from the Central Mtns, Manti unit at the following locations:
The DWR Price office (by appointment only) at 319 N. Carbonville Road, Suite A, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 435-613-3700 to schedule an appointment for the CWD sampling.
The intersection of SR-31 and SR-264 and North Skyline Drive October 23-25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The parking lot south of the intersection of SR-31 and South Skyline Drive from October 23-25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hunters can also call the DWR Price office at 435-613-3700 for a list of taxidermists and meat processors in the area who also take CWD samples, along with the processing of the meat or taxidermy.
The DWR offers free CWD testing for deer from the Monroe; Mount Dutton; Plateau, fish lake; Plateau, a thousand lakes; Plateau, boulder; and Kaiparowits units at the following locations:
The DWR Cedar City office (by appointment only) at 1470 N. Airport Road. Call 435-865-6100 to schedule an appointment for the CWD sampling.
On the Sand Ledges (located on Highway 24 on Mile 21 between Fishlake and Richfield – north only) October 23-24, approximately 10 a.m. to dusk.
Hunters can also call the DWR Cedar City office at 435-865-6100 for a list of taxidermists and meat processors in the area who also take CWD samples along with the processing of the meat or taxidermy.