Deer check station

Note: Since this article's publication, several new check stations have been added in northern and central Utah. Dates and times of several other stations have been changed. All locations, dates and times listed in this article have been updated.

Utah hunters asked to visit DWR check stations to test deer for chronic wasting disease

Salt Lake City — It's become a standard part of the general deer hunt: Utah hunters are once again being asked to bring their harvested deer to various stations across the state so Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists can test the animals for chronic wasting disease.

Deer check station
Deer check station

Chronic wasting disease is a relatively rare transmissible disease that affects the nervous systems of deer, elk and moose. The disease was first discovered in Utah in 2002 in a buck deer taken during the rifle hunt near Vernal. As of Oct. 7, 2020, 118 mule deer and two elk have tested positive for CWD in Utah. However, it isn't widespread in the state and is only found in six hunting units in Utah — primarily in a few counties in central, northeastern and southeastern Utah.

Infected animals develop brain lesions, become emaciated, appear listless and have droopy ears, may salivate excessively and eventually die. The disease is caused by a protein particle that attaches to the brain and spine. It has been compared to "Mad Cow Disease" in cows.

Infected animals may shed prions in urine, feces and saliva. Transmission may occur directly through contact with an infected animal or indirectly through environmental contamination. (A dead carcass can spread it to the soil.) Prions are extremely resistant in the environment and can stay infectious for years.

While the Centers for Disease Control says the risk of transmission from animals to humans is considered extremely low, they recommend not consuming meat from animals infected with chronic wasting disease.

The DWR sets up monitoring checkpoints on all hunting units in the state — on a five-year rotation — in order to sample the deer populations for chronic wasting disease. Hunters who go to the check stations will receive a free CWD test if they harvested a deer on one of the units being sampled this year. Hunters will need to leave about 6 inches of the animal's neck and windpipe attached below the jaw so that DWR employees can remove the lymph nodes for the sample.

DWR employees will also ask the hunter a few questions, including the location where the animal was harvested. The entire process will only take a few minutes.

Hunters who harvest an animal in a non-target sampling unit but still wish to have their deer or elk tested for chronic wasting disease, may do so by providing the head of the animal to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Logan or the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Spanish Fork, and paying a $25 testing fee. Deer and elk must be older than one year of age to be eligible for testing.

"We take the presence of CWD in the state seriously and have done — and will continue to do — extensive monitoring to stay on top of the disease and its prevalence in the state," DWR State Wildlife Veterinarian Annette Roug said. "We ask that hunters stop at our check stations if they have harvested a deer in order to help us with our monitoring of CWD in Utah."

Here are where the CWD monitoring check stations and sampling units will be located this year:

Northern Utah

The DWR will provide free CWD tests for deer harvested from the Box Elder, Cache and Ogden units at the following locations:
  • The DWR Ogden office, by appointment only. Call 801-476-2740 to make an appointment.
  • Snowville, just off I-84 exit 5 on Highway 30, from Oct. 17–18, from roughly 10 a.m. to dark each day
  • Brigham City at Mayor's Pond (which is at the mouth of Sardine Canyon and 200 S.) from Oct. 17–18, from roughly 10 a.m. to dark each day
  • At the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon from Oct. 17–18, from roughly 10 a.m. to dark each day
  • At the mouth of Logan Canyon from Oct. 17–18, from roughly 10 a.m. to dark each day
  • At one of the gravel pull-offs on state Route 39, on the south side of Pineview Reservoir, from Oct. 17–18, from about 10 a.m. to dark each day
  • The Cache Valley Public Shooting Range (at 2851 W. 200 North in Logan), by appointment only. Call 801-476-2740 to make an appointment.
  • The Bothwell UDOT Station (at 8875 W. 1000 North in Tremonton), by apppointment only. Call 801-476-2740 to make an appointment.

Hunters can also call the DWR Ogden office at 801-476-2740 for a list of meat processors in the area that will also take CWD samples, along with processing the meat.

Northeastern Utah

The DWR will provide free CWD tests for deer harvested from the South Slope; Book Cliffs; Nine Mile, Anthro; and Wasatch Mountains, East units at the following locations:

  • The DWR Vernal office (by appointment only) at 318 N. Vernal Ave. from Oct. 19–23, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 453-781-9453 to make an appointment.
  • Near Strawberry Reservoir, at the junction of U.S. Highway 40 and the Co-op Creek Road (between mile markers 41 and 42) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day
  • Just north of Vernal on U.S. Highway 191 at the Steinaker Reservoir rest stop (near mile marker 358) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day

Hunters can also call the DWR Vernal office at 435-781-9453 for a list of taxidermists and meat processors in the area that will also take CWD samples, along with processing the meat or doing taxidermy work.

Central Utah

The DWR will provide free CWD tests for deer harvested from the Wasatch Mountains, West; Oquirrh-Stansbury; and West Desert, Vernon; and West Desert, Tintic units at the following locations:

  • The DWR Salt Lake Office at 1594 W. North Temple from Oct. 19–23, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 385-368-1672 to make an appointment outside those dates.
  • In Spanish Fork Canyon (near the Covered Bridge community) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day
  • South of Grantsville (on S. West Street and the Mormon Trail Road) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day
  • In Utah County (near Fairfield and Five Mile Pass on State Route 73) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day
  • At the Juab County Fairgrounds (at 400 W. Center St. in Nephi) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day
  • On Highway 6 between Eureka and Elberta from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day

Southeastern Utah

The DWR will provide free CWD tests for deer harvested from the Nine Mile and Book Cliffs units at the following locations:

  • The Miller Travel Center at 2195 E. Main St. near Wellington (east of Wellington on U.S. 6 / U.S. 191) from Oct. 17–19, from roughly 9 a.m. to dark each day

Southern Utah

The DWR will provide free CWD tests for deer harvested from the Panguitch Lake, Zion, Pine Valley, SW Desert and Paunsaugunt units at the following locations:

  • The Cedar City DWR office at 1470 N. Airport Road — by appointment only. Call 435-865-6100 to make an appointment.
  • On Highway 56 (mile marker 55–56) from Oct. 17–18, from 9:30 a.m. to dark
  • On Highway 91 (mile marker 21–22, near Ivins) from Oct. 17–18, from 9:30 a.m. to dark
  • At the UDOT shed on I-15 Northbound/Highway 20 from Oct. 17–18, from 10 a.m. to dark
  • In Cedar Canyon on Highway 14 (at mile marker 2.5) on Oct. 7, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 24 and 25 from 11 a.m. to dark. This will be a combined check station where hunters can enter into a prize drawing by demonstrating they are either using non-lead ammo or that they have removed their harvested animal's remains from the field, in an effort to help California condors in the area.
  • The Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park area (at the Yellowjacket Canyon and Hancock Road intersection) on Oct. 7, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. to dark. This will be a combined check station where hunters can enter into a prize drawing by demonstrating they are either using non-lead ammo or that they have removed their harvested animal's remains from the field, in an effort to help California condors in the area.
Lee Kay and Cache Valley Shooting Centers
» Shooting centers
Wildlife Blog
» Wildlife Blog
Report poachers — 1-800-662-3337
» Report poachers
Wildlife dates
» Important dates
Hunter, angler app
Hunter Education
» Hunter education
Utah wildlife photos
» Utah wildlife photos