If the animal is tagged with a round yellow tag, such as the
one pictured to the right, it means that at some point in
its life it was treated with a drug. Drug residues may remain
in the animal’s system for several weeks after it was
treated, depending on the particular drug and the species
of animal. These drug residues may be harmful to humans if
they are still present when the meat of the animal is consumed.
By entering the unique number found on the round yellow ear
tag into the space below, you can retrieve information to
help you determine whether it is safe to consume your harvested
game animal. This information is based on federal Food and
Drug Administration guidelines on time required for the animal
to have completely metabolized the drug.
Enter the tag number found on the round yellow ear tag in
the field provided, then click Check Tag.
If the date the animal is safe to eat is in the future,
and the animal is already dead, freezing it until that date
will not render it safe to eat. The drugs can only be metabolized
out of an animal’s tissues if the animal is alive.
WDFW uses drugs to capture animals for a variety of reasons.
The animal may need to be relocated, it may be part of a research
study, or it may have been injured and required assistance.
In addition, when animals are captured, they sometimes receive
injections of antibiotics or other medications.
Sometimes an animal will have a larger (usually rectangular)
tag in its ear. These tags are numbered, can be any color,
and may be imprinted with a request to contact WDFW if the
animal is harvested. If the animal was drugged at some point,
a round yellow ear tag with the message: “Call
WDFW Before Consuming Meat”, such as the one pictured
above, may have been used as the “stud” on the
back of the ear to attach the larger numbered ear tag. Because
of this, it is important to check both sides of the ear. If
no yellow round tag is present, then the animal either did
not receive any drugs, or did not receive drugs at a time
when drug residues might remain at the time of legal harvest.
WDFW drugs and tags many species of animals. These may include:
bear, deer, moose, elk, cougar, wolves, coyotes, wolverines,
badgers, raccoons, foxes, fish and birds. The animals that
are of most concern relative to the drugs used are deer, elk,
moose, bear, and cougar.
WDFW veterinarians, wildlife biologists, and wildlife enforcement
officers are all trained and certified to use these drugs