SALEM - With hunting seasons still open in some states where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected, ODFW reminds hunters that it is illegal to bring any deer, elk or moose parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon from states or Canadian provinces with a documented case of CWD.
A number of hunters have recently been cited for doing just that.
Recently, Oregon State Police cited six Oregon hunters who brought harvested deer and elk into the state from Montana, a state that has experienced a documented case of CWD. Citations were also issued to hunters who harvested and brought back game from the states of Colorado and New Mexico.
Oregon is currently a CWD-free state. Hunters play a key role in keeping that status by following the import ban on central nervous system tissue and by allowing biologists to check for the disease by taking brain and tissue samples from big game harvested in Oregon.
Along with Montana, Colorado and New Mexico, CWD has been detected in the following states so the import ban into Oregon applies: Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The following parts may still be imported from those states and provinces with a documented case of CWD: 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 (velvet antlers allowed); antlers with no tissue attached (velvet antlers allowed); upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers and ivories); and finished taxidermy heads.
About Chronic Wasting Disease
CWD is untreatable, damaging the brain of infected deer, elk and moose and typically causing progressive loss of body condition. The disease is always fatal to these animals, and no state or province with documented cases of CWD has been able to eradicate it.
The prions that cause CWD can last a long time in the environment. If the head and spinal column of an infected animal is disposed of in areas where Oregon's deer and elk could encounter the prions, they could contract the disease.
No evidence has been found to suggest CWD can be transmitted to people, but hunters should take precautions when hunting and dressing game. Hunters should avoid harvesting any animal that appears sick or has unusual behavior. Disposable gloves should be worn when dressing game and meat should be cooked to 165 degrees.
For more information on CWD, check the ODFW web site at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/diseases/chronic_wasting/.