The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2021 hunting season by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease from select units in the central and western portion of the state.
Samples will be tested from deer taken from units 2H, 2I, 2J1, 2J2, 2K1, 2K2, 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3B3, 3C, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B and 4C.
CWD is a slow-moving brain disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause population-level impacts under high infection rates.
“Many folks are aware of the fairly bad epizootic hemorrhagic disease year we’ve had,” said Game and Fish veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson. “While EHD is a different disease from CWD, it illustrates the impact diseases can have on our wildlife populations. And unlike EHD, which is cyclical, CWD can become an increasing, annual pressure on our herd.”
Knowing where CWD is in the state and how many deer are infected is critical for managing the disease.
“One major goal is to confidently determine what areas do not have CWD,” Bahnson said. “We need to test a lot of deer to make that assessment, which is why hunters’ willingness to help is so important.”
Hunters are encouraged to drop off heads of adult or yearling deer at collection locations. Fawns and head-shot deer cannot be tested. Hunters wishing to keep the heads can bring them to a Game and Fish district office during business hours to have them sampled.
Results will be provided within four weeks, barring delays, by visiting My Account on the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, where you can also add or update contact information. Click Additional Info for CWD results for lottery licenses or Inbox for results for first-come, first-served licenses.
Hunters should note whole carcasses or heads of deer taken from units 3A1, 3A2, 3B1, 3F2, 4B and 4C may not be transported to a collection site outside of the unit. Exception: hunters can transport whole deer carcasses between adjoining CWD carcass restricted units.
More information on CWD, including transportation restrictions, is available at the Game and Fish website.