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California Wants Hunters to Participate in Study on E. Coli and Wildlife

From California Department of Fish and Game

-- The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is conducting a new study on how native wildlife affect E. coli presence in three coastal counties. The new study focuses on the bacteria, Escherichia coli 0157:H7 which can cause illness and death in humans. The study will help establish if the bacteria is found in wildlife in Monterey, San Benito and San Luis Obispo counties.

DFG is requesting A-zone deer hunters in those counties if they harvest a deer to take a six-inch segment of the deer's colon to the special drop off locations listed below. Samples need to be kept cool and delivered to a drop off location within three days. There are no known health hazards to hunters collecting a small segment of deer colon when cleaning their deer.

"Hunter cooperation in this study is extremely important to the long term management of the deer herds moving between foothills and croplands," said DFG Senior Environmental Scientist Dr. Andrew G. Gordus, who is heading up the study.

A special collection kit consisting of two latex gloves, two zip ties, two gallon-size ziplock bags, label and instructions are available to hunters upon request. For a description of how to collect the sample while cleaning a deer, go to www.dfg.ca.gov/news/docs/FieldSamplingProtocolForDeerHunters.pdf

Hunters normally clean their deer in the field. By taking the extra step of securing a small section of colon, the study will help biologists understand how native wildlife affect E. coli presence, enabling them to better manage deer herds in the vicinity of vegetable croplands.

The new study is designed to collect information over a three-year testing period. Plans are to collect a total of 2,400 colon or fecal samples over a three-year period for analysis from deer, wild pigs, elk, small mammals and birds across a variety of watersheds in the three coastal counties.

Specimen drop off locations and collection kits are available from:

-- Bob Martin, Rio Farms, (831) 595-1554, King City;
-- Kek Flores, Jackpot Harvesting, (831) 970-7073, Gonzales;
-- Traci Roberts, Monterey County Farm Bureau,  (831) 750-5875, Salinas;
-- Mike Silva, (831) 595-0102, Salinas;
-- Monterey Fish and Game Office, (831) 649-2870, Monterey;
-- On opening weekend Aug. 9-10, Camp Roberts and Fort Hunter Liggett Hunter Check Stations

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