SALEM - Hunter help is needed this fall to gather up to 500 biological samples from mule deer and elk as part of a disease surveillance effort.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists will need the trachea, heart, and lungs for tuberculosis testing and a small section from the base of the brain stem for chronic wasting disease testing. The sample collection will not harm taxidermy mounts or game meat processing.

Deer and elk hunters in some Northside and Heppner unit hunts will receive a letter asking them to bring samples to a collection site where ODFW staff will collect necessary samples. Throughout the rest of the state, hunters may be contacted in the field and asked to assist by providing samples. Biologists are asking hunters to make the harvested animal available for sample collection within 24 hours. The head, trachea, heart, and lungs should be kept cool and stored in a clean plastic bag to help maintain sample integrity.

Last November, bovine TB was confirmed in a single domestically raised elk at the Rudio Creek Ranch near Kimberly. CWD has recently been identified in wild and privately held deer and elk in as many as eight states and two Canadian provinces. Due to the seriousness of these diseases, ODFW is monitoring for these diseases in Oregon's wild deer and elk. TB sampling will focus on the area around Monument. CWD sampling will occur statewide.

ODFW biologists also are tracking adenovirus hemorrhagic disease in deer. Between May and August 2002, more than 400 deer died from the virus in the Crooked River Ranch area and near Sisters.

For more information, call the local ODFW office at 575-1167.

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