Chronic Wasting Disease is in Utah, and the Department of Wildlife Resources needs our help to ensure that deer, elk and moose herds in our state can thrive for years to come. From now until the end of the 2019 Big Game Hunting Seasons, the Utah Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers will be holding a “Submit Your Sample Drawing.” If you kill a deer, elk or moose in the state of Utah, and you submit your “sample” to a local DWR office or harvest checkpoint, you are eligible for the drawing!
Why do they need my sample?
CWD is a disease that affects the neurological system of the infected critter. It is a slow, aggravating ordeal for the host that always, without a doubt, leads to death. From the time of infection, the cervid could carry around the rogue protein that causes the disease for 24 to 36 months! It is spread by way of contact with any bodily fluid including, but not limited to; urine, feces, blood, saliva and afterbirth. Even after excretion the disease can remain for years in their discarded state. With such a delayed reaction, it’s difficult for game agencies to track the spread of CWD unless they have an ample supply of data. This is where you come in.
By submitting your sample to the UDWR you are helping cast a wider net across the state. The Division then uses those samples to concentrate their efforts on areas of more CWD prevalence. Once the “hotspots” are established, game management plans are put into place to ensure that the disease is curtailed and prevented from spreading to more and more units.
What do they do with my sample?
Don’t worry, you get to keep your trophy! When you show up to give your sample the officer will take what he or she needs right on the spot. They are trained in the proper handling of the tissues they need, mainly from the brainstem at the rear base of the skull. If you would like, snap a picture of your submitted sample, or anything relevant to show Utah BHA that you have done your part, and email it to email@example.com and you’re in!
Are there areas of more concern?
Yes! For Fall of 2019 the Division has highlighted the following units as ones they’d like to keep a close eye on; 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 21 and 22. As an extra incentive, if you submit a sample from any one of these units you are automatically taking home a “Hunt to Eat” T-shirt! Again, email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I submitted my sample, now what?
Congratulations, you’re in the drawing! And thank you for taking action. With your information on file, the DWR will be contacting you to let you know if your kill was or was not infected. If you get the results back and your deer is indeed infected with CWD the Division has specific suggestions and guidelines listed here on the Division website.
At the end of the 2019-2020 Big Game Seasons the Utah Chapter of BHA will announce a Grand Prize Winner from all of the sample submission entries throughout the state. Stay tuned into UT BHA social media pages and our website for details on prizes!
Thank you for doing your part in managing the spread of CWD! Ten years from now the data we collect from this initiative could play a major role in Utah’s deer herds, and ensure that we, and generations to come, have plenty of game to chase!