September 25, 2003
Contact: Jack Smith, (360) 249-1222
Training set for volunteer deer and elk checkers
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will offer a free training session in Montesano for volunteers prepared to help collect information on deer and elk taken during the modern firearms hunting seasons in October and November.
The training session is scheduled Friday, Oct. 3, from 7-9 p.m. at the KBH Clubhouse, 3680 Old Belfair Highway in Belfair.
Participants in the training session will be deployed to check stations in western Washington to help WDFW biologists identify the sex and age of the deer brought in by hunters. Like last year, they will also be trained to help take small tissue samples from harvested animals to test for chronic wasting disease, said Jack Smith, regional WDFW wildlife manager.
Although chronic wasting disease has not been detected in Washington, Oregon or Idaho, Smith said WDFW has stepped up monitoring for the disease that has been discovered in wild or captive deer and elk herds in 10 other states and two Canadian provinces.
“Tissue samples taken during the hunting season play an important role in the department’s efforts to monitor for chronic wasting disease,” Smith said. “With the help of volunteers, we’ve been able to gather twice as many samples during the past two years as we could have taken otherwise. This year we hope to take even more samples.”
Last year, volunteers – many of them members of the Eyes In The Woods program and KBH Archers – dedicated well over 1,000 hours to the monitoring effort in the South Sound/Olympic Peninsula region alone, Smith said.
“These folks perform a valuable service to the resource and citizens of Washington State,” he said.
During the training session, WDFW Veterinarian Briggs Hall will outline procedures for taking tissue samples as well as for collecting age and sex data on harvested deer. These harvest data provide WDFW with information used to help manage the state’s deer population, Smith said.
For more information about the training session, or more detailed directions to the site, contact John Durst, who is hosting the KBH meeting, at (360) 871-8400 or Jack Smith at (360) 249-1222. For more information about chronic wasting disease, see
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/cwd/ on WDFW’s website.