OLYMPIA - Hunters in southwest Washington have an opportunity this fall to win prizes while they help the state monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, under a joint effort by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and local businesses.
Hunters who notify WDFW after harvesting deer in Wahkiakum, Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties and allow the department to collect a sample of the animals' brain-stem tissue will have a chance to win prizes and gift certificates contributed by regional businesses.
Removal of the brain-stem tissue sample has no effect on carcass quality, but since brain tissue breaks down rapidly, hunters should contact WDFW promptly after harvesting a deer.
Hunters who harvest deer in southwest Washington are asked to call WDFW at (800) 888-7513. A department biologist will contact the reporting hunter to arrange to collect a brain-stem tissue sample from the deer. Names of all participating hunters who submit viable samples from deer 16 months or older will be entered into the prize drawing.
Prizes include a fishing rod from Field and Stream Enterprises of Kalama; $50 gift certificates from Sportsmen's Warehouse in Clackamas, Bob's Sporting Goods, The Gun Shop and Maddog Hunting and Outdoors (all in Longview); a $25 gift certificate from Hanigan Law Office in Cathlamet; and gift certificates for rib-eye dinners and star burgers at the Silver Star Restaurant in Longview.
The state has been monitoring deer and elk for chronic wasting disease since 1995 and so far all 2,287 animals checked have been found free of the disease. However, relatively few samples have been collected from deer in some parts of southwest Washington.
"The shortage of samples in several game-management units has prompted us offer this special-incentive program," said Fred Dobler, WDFW's southwest Washington wildlife manager. "We hope this will encourage hunters to take part in Washington's CWD-monitoring effort."
A fatal disease of the central nervous system in deer and elk, CWD has been found in 12 other states and two Canadian provinces.