DOW extending hours for CWD testing
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado With hunting season on the weekends horizon the Colorado Division of Wildlife encourages hunters to submit deer or elk samples to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) at several locations throughout the state.CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects the brain in deer, elk and moose, and causes the animals to loose weight and display abnormal behaviors and coordination. And while no known links between the disease and human health problems have been found by the Center for Disease Control based out of Georgia, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver, the information is helpful for the DOW.The most important reason for the test is that the DOW is trying to track the disease, said DOW spokesman Randy Hampton. In order to do that in a scientific way we need the samples and are appreciative of the hunters that help out with that.The DOW offers testing to hunters throughout the state, while moose testing is mandatory this year as it has been in the past, deer and elk testing is voluntary. Moose testing is free if the moose head is taken to a DOW submission site, however deer and elk tests are $15 per animal when submitted at a DOW site.Moose must be submitted within five days of harvest and will take between 10-15 working days for results. Deer and elk heads may be taken to a DOW submission site during business hours.For sportsmen it is more for piece of mind, Hampton said. They want to know that the animal is healthy before they consume it.In addition to normal weekday hours, many DOW offices will be open Columbus Day, Veterans Day and opening Saturdays during the main deer and elk rifle hunting seasons. Some locations will also be open on Sundays or offer on-call phone numbers for hunters who wish to drop off samples for testing on Sundays.According to DOW spokesman, Tyler Baskfield, while the DOW does like to have hunters participate in testing the animals, the disease is not that prevalent. Baskfield said that the disease is more prevalent in deer, than elk and moose, however percentages of each species have been know to carry the disease.According to the DOW the highest rate of elk infected with CWD is found in eight game management units (GMU) west of Fort Collins extending toward Steamboat Springs. Statistics report that around 5 percent of the elk population in that area are infected. A large part of the northwest region is between 1 and 5 percent with the majority of the state elk populations being less than 1 percent infected with CWD. The areas of the White River National Forest surrounding Glenwood Springs fell in the range of between 1 and 5 percent and less than 1 percent to the southwest.Every deer and elk license includes a detachable CWD Head Testing Tag for hunters wanting to participate. The tag includes a bar code that can be scanned to speed up processing. Hunters are required to provide detailed information about when and where the animal was harvested.The DOW’s goal is to provide test results within 10 to 14 working days. Hunters who have not received results more than three weeks after submission should call the nearest DOW office for assistance.Results are also available 24 hours a day through the CWD webpage on the DOW website by clicking on the CWD test results option at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/CWD. Or by calling the 24-hour number 1-800-434-0274.The DOW notes that out-of-state hunters should check with their home state’s wildlife agency to determine if there are special carcass importing restrictions. Many states require hunters to bone out or process all deer and elk meat being returned to their home state from states with CWD.Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.org
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