The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease in two new deer hunt areas and one new elk hunt area. The disease was confirmed from lymph node samples submitted by hunters.
CWD was confirmed in Deer Hunt Areas 144 and 148, both from mule deer bucks harvested near Deadman Creek and in Soda Lake Meadows, respectively.
Game and Fish has conducted surveillance for CWD in statewide Wyoming for more than two decades. In recent years CWD has been detected in more deer and elk hunt areas in northwestern Wyoming. Wildlife managers believe CWD is likely to be documented in new areas of the state in deer and elk.
“While the prevalence of CWD in northwestern Wyoming is lower than in other parts of Wyoming, it remains a concern,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the wildlife division. “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.”
In the Cody Region Game and Fish confirmed the presence of CWD in Elk Hunt Area 41 from a hunter-harvested bull elk. Elk Hunt Area 41 is surrounded on three sides by known CWD-positive Elk Hunt Areas 66, 45 and 37. This hunt area also overlays Deer Hunt Areas 46 and 47 where CWD was confirmed in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
To ensure hunters are informed, Game and Fish announces when CWD is found in a new hunt area. The Centers for Disease Control recommends hunters do not consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.
Continued monitoring of CWD over time is important to help Game and Fish understand the potential impacts of the disease as well as evaluate future management actions for deer and elk. A map of CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website. The disease is 100% fatal to deer, elk and moose.
Throughout the fall, Game and Fish has been asking hunters to collect lymph node samples from harvested deer and elk for CWD testing in focused monitoring hunt areas across Wyoming. Hunters are an important component in helping Game and Fish understand the disease and achieve CWD monitoring goals.
“Each CWD sample we receive is valuable for monitoring and understanding the disease,” said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor. “Please make an effort to submit a CWD sample of your harvest.”
In 2020, Game and Fish personnel tested 6,496 CWD samples and continue to evaluate new recommendations for trying to manage the disease. So far, over 1,770 samples have been tested in 2021.
Please visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease testing, transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.
(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)