Elk NetworkCWD Spreading in Colorado

General | May 20, 2020

As of February 2020, wildlife officials detected chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 33 of 54 deer herds, 14 of 43 elk herds, and two of nine moose herds. The percentage of sampled animals infected (or “prevalence”) appears to be rising in many affected Colorado herds.

Colorado implemented a 15-year CWD Response Plan that uses rotating mandatory tests on hunter-harvested deer to give a complete picture of Colorado’s CWD prevalence every five years.

In 2019, CPW required mandatory testing for rifle season deer hunters in 79 Game Management Units, mostly located in eastern Colorado. The expanded testing gave wildlife managers the clearest picture yet of CWD prevalence in Colorado.

Testing in 2019

  • 16 deer herds were included in mandatory testing
  • Over 7,700 samples tested statewide for all cervid species
  • CWD prevalence exceeds the 5 percent management threshold in 18 deer herds
  • Data collected from mandatory testing shows CWD prevalence is higher in male deer than female deer
  • Prevalence may be slightly higher in mule deer than in white-tailed deer
  • Five herds have prevalence between 5-10 percent, 7 herds have prevalence between 10-20 percent, and 6 herds have prevalence that exceeds 20 percent. When prevalence is 20 percent, it means one out of five adult males are infected

Find more details here.

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)