Elk, Deer Hunters in Oregon Will Be Asked to Stop at Check Stations

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Successful hunters who drive by one of the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (ODFW) check stations in Prineville or Celilo Park during deer and elk hunting seasons will be asked to stop to have their animal tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Hunters driving by the locations will see highway signs alerting them that the check station is operating and can pull off the highway to get their animal sampled.

ODFW staff at the check stations will take a lymph and brain tissue samples from the animal’s head and a tooth for aging. Hunters can expect to hear back on the animal’s age within a few months.

CWD check stations will operate at the following locations and times for the 2021 season:

Sunday, Oct. 3 and Monday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m. through dusk (deer season)

  • I-84 West at Celilo Park (exit 97)
  • Prineville weigh station, just east of Prineville on Hwy 26 (also operating Saturday Oct. 2 in the afternoon).

Saturday, Oct. 30, Sunday Oct. 31 and Monday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. through dusk (elk season)

  • I-84 West at Celilo Park (exit 97)
  • Prineville weigh station (just east of Prineville on Hwy 26)

Hunters who visit a check station will be asked to wear a mask and maintain safe social distances, in keeping with statewide Covid safety measures.

Hunters who do not pass a check station but wish to have their animal tested can call their local ODFW office to arrange a time to provide a sample.

What is CWD?
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose in some parts of North America. A type of prion protein is believed to cause the disease, which damages portions of the animal’s brain and causes progressive loss of body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation and eventual death.

The disease has never been detected in Oregon. But early detection is critical for slowing its spread should it be found, so ODFW wildlife biologists and veterinary staff have been monitoring the state’s deer and elk herds for the disease for many years now. Any deer or elk salvaged under the state’s roadkill law is also tested for CWD.

HB 3152 makes stopping mandatory in 2022
While stopping at the CWD check station is currently voluntary, beginning next year it will be mandatory.

Oregon HB 3152, a bill introduced by the Oregon Hunters Association and passed by the 2021 Oregon State Legislature, makes stopping at a CWD check station you drive by mandatory beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

More details about mandatory check stations will be available next year. But ODFW expects to continue to operate a station off I-84, in Prineville and possibly at additional locations.

Successful hunters who pass one of the stations will be required to stop and could be cited for a wildlife violation if they fail to do so.

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