CENTRAL POINT, Ore.-- The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has increasing concerns about Chronic Wasting Disease entering our state.
It's a fatal disease that impacts deer, elk, and moose and so far, we haven't had a case in Oregon.
ODFW says hunters are critical in keeping the disease out.
Acting District Wildlife Biologist Steve Niemela says, "The main thing to know about it is it's incredibly persistent in the environment, it's almost impossible to kill."
Chronic Wasting Disease, you may have heard of it.
Right now, 23 states in the country are CWD positive, meaning they've found animals carrying the deadly disease.
Oregon is still a CWD-free state, but ODFW warns hunters play a critical role in keeping it that way.
Acting District Wildlife Biologist Steve Niemela says, "CWD is a fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose. When they get it, they experience neurological decline resulting in death, it's not just affecting animals individually, it's affecting herds and the way states manage herds."
And once a state is CWD positive, it pretty much stays that way because the disease is nearly impossible to eradicate.
Oregon state police recently cited two hunters for bringing banned elk parts from Colorado and Wyoming into the Rogue Valley.
Those banned parts are anything with neurological tissue.
States that are affected by CWD spend an enormous amount of money trying to control the deadly disease.
Acting District Wildlife Biologist Steve Niemela says, "I've been told by our state veterinarian on average states with CWD spend up to 10 million dollars in the first 5 years
The deadly pathogen is protein based so ODFW has to incinerate the material at 1800 degrees to get rid of it for good.
ODFW encourages hunters to enjoy their trips in CWD positive states, but to make sure to abide by the rules to avoid the disease.
Acting District Wildlife Biologist Steve Niemela says, "So, if you are hunting out of state, don't bring back those banned parts, like the brain, spinal cord, and skull. Make sure all that is left in the state where you harvested the animal."
The two hunters who recently brought in the banned elk parts were cited by OSP.