WDFW reports sampling nearly 100 more deer for chronic wasting disease testing over the past week of Washington’s rifle deer season, about half of which were collected at the agency’s expanded network of game check stations in Region 1.
“In total, for this surveillance year so far, we have collected 225 samples from harvested deer and about half are collected at check stations,” reports spokeswoman Staci Lehman in Spokane. “The other half are collected when the hunter makes an appointment using the online appointment form or mailed lymph nodes to us that they collected themselves, using the instructions listed on our website.”
CWD is not known to occur in Washington, but with outbreaks in Northwest Montana and in Central Idaho just east of Hells Canyon, WDFW has made testing harvested and roadkilled deer, elk and other ungulates in far Eastern Washington a priority. But the agency needs to sample many more animals to be absolutely certain the always-fatal condition is not in the state.
To that end, those who submit their Region 1 harvests for sampling will be put into a drawing for 100 multiseason deer tags purchased by the Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
The earlier CWD is detected, the better the odds of limiting an outbreak.
With Eastern Washington mule deer and Palouse and Blue Mountains whitetail seasons wrapping up tomorrow and Northeast whitetail on Friday, WDFW’s check stations won’t reopen until the November 11-19 late rifle whitetail season in game management units northwest and north of Spokane, and only those in Colville, Deer Park and along Highway 2 near Chatteroy will be staffed.
“However, people are encouraged to reach out to use outside of the check stations if they scavenge a road-killed animal or harvest a deer outside of check station hours,” Lehman notes.
“Pheasant season opened in the region as well this weekend and WDFW staff and officers in the field said the number of pheasant hunters they encountered was down. It was hot again this past weekend, so that could have contributed to that,” Lehman adds.
Mule deer hunters will gnash their teeth at the timing, but a significant cooldown and strong chance of snow is coming Tuesday night to the region.