Game and Fish confirm CWD in western Wyoming hunt areas

Courtesy photo

WYOMING – Wyoming Game and Fish officials confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease in two new deer hunt areas, as well as one new elk hunt area, through lymph node samples submitted by hunters.

Samples confirmed the presence of CWD at Deer Hunt Areas 144 and 148, both in northwest Wyoming. They were taken from mule deer bucks harvested near Deadman Creek and Soda Lake Meadows.

CWD was discovered in Elk Hunt Area 41 by Cody Region officials. That area is surrounded by Elk Hunt Areas 66, 45 and 37, all of which have previously confirmed CWD cases – it also overlaps Deer Hunt Areas 46 and 47, which had confirmed CWD cases in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Game and Fish officials have been conducting surveillance for CWD in Wyoming for over two decades. Recently, its been detected more in northwestern Wyoming in elk and deer hunt areas than elsewhere.

“While the prevalence of CWD in northwestern Wyoming is lower than in other parts of Wyoming, it remains a concern,” deputy chief of the wildlife division, Scott Edberg, said. “Efforts to plan for that inevitably are currently underway with increased surveillance for the disease as well as the Elk Feedgrounds Public Engagement Process, which includes long-term planning for disease management at elk feedgrounds.”

Game and Fish officials announce when CWD is confirmed in new hunt areas to ensure hunters are informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters not consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD. A map of CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

The disease is 100-percent fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Because of its potential danger of spreading and certain fatality, Game and Fish began asking hunters to collect lymph node samples harvested from deer and elk in hunt areas.

“Each CWD sample we receive is valuable for monitoring and understanding the disease,” said Hank Edwards, Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish. “Please make an effort to submit a CWD sample of your harvest.”

Last year alone, Game and Fish tested 6,496 samples and continue to evaluate new recommendations for managing the disease. So far this year, 1,770 samples have been tested.