BHA helped pay for 100 multi-season deer tags for an incentive program to encourage hunters to submit samples from harvested animals to be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Hunters who submit samples for testing are contributing to the Department’s goal of preventing the spread of the disease and, pending final approval by WDFW’s director, will have their name put into a random drawing for the multi-season tags.
CWD is a fatal illness of deer, elk, and moose in North America. It spreads between animals through bodily fluids and contaminated soil, food, or water. “Most animals with CWD appear normal until the end stages of the disease. The only way to detect the disease early is to test the lymph nodes of harvested animals or salvaged roadkill,” said WDFW ungulate research scientist Melia DeVivo. “Early detection will help us better manage the spread of CWD, so we highly encourage hunters to test their deer and elk.”
CWD has not been found in Washington to date but has been detected as close as Idaho and in 31 states and four Canadian Provinces.
“BHA’s Washington Chapter is concerned about this conservation issue, and we believe it benefits us all to be vigilant about this disease that is close to our doorstep,” said Josh Wilund, Secretary, BHA Washington Chapter. “An outbreak could severely impact our cervid populations, in turn impacting ecosystem health and resilience, economies that rely on hunting revenue, and hunting opportunities.”
Hunters who harvest or salvage a deer or elk in WDFW’s Eastern Region 1 can visit the WDFW CWD surveillance web page. The page outlines several ways to submit a sample for testing and information on how to be automatically entered into the exclusive drawing for one of the 100 multi-season deer tags for use the following hunting season.
These tags are separate from the general multi-season deer tag drawing and will not affect the odds of drawing one of the general multi-season tags. The drawing for the CWD multi-season deer tag will take place in April and winners will be notified by mail. “We hope that, with the encouragement of a free multi-season tag, people will be motivated to do their due diligence in preventing the spread of disease,” said Chris Hager, BHA’s Washington Chapter Coordinator. “We’re proud to partner with WDFW and believe together we have a greater reach and ability to make an impact when it comes to public awareness and conserving the state’s resources and species.”