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WesternHunter's picture
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CWD

Noticed that in Colorado the CDOW is no longer doing free testing for CWD in deer and elk.  I believe they still are for moose.  Now they are charging $25 per head to have your deer or elk tested.  I wonder why there seems to be less of a concern about the disease this years?  I don't think we know anymore today about CWD than we did 10 years ago.  I wonder if an animal tests positive for CWD if they still issue a letter of permission to dispose of the meat?  The more I read about some of the research of CWD the more I fear some.  It seems that all attemps to kill a malformed prion have failed.  Makes me wonder if my knives and tools were to come in contact with a CWD infected animal, that I might pass that prion onto other non infected meat even if I do all efforts to sterilize my equipment.  However in lab tests any attempts to make a CWD prion infect a normal human protien cell failed to change the human cell much more than 7%, so there still is no indication that CWD can infect humans or domestic bovines.  I still wonder and I'll still be paying to have my kill tested though.  Anyone else concerned?

Critter's picture
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I actually noticed that they

I actually noticed that they were not doing the free testing last year and I am not sure if they did it in 2009 or not.  I don't know if it is because of the budget crunch or if not enough or too many hunters were submitting heads to be tested.

As far as what happens if you do by chance get a diseased animal they will offer a refund or a anterless tag if one is available for either the current year or the next year.  But I do agree with you what if?  Granted there has been no known transmission from a infected animal to a human but do you want to be the first?

Perhaps we need to get in touch with Flounder since it appears that he is the expert on the forum here on the disease and see what he suggest.   

exbiologist's picture
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been four years I believe

It has been $25 since at lest 2008.  Moose is mandatory and is therefore free.  And yes we know a lot more about it, and it is less of a concern.  Among the things we now know is that there is a species barrier that makes it unlikely to cross between cervids and homonids.  We also know we basically can't infect mountain lions, despite feeding them a pretty much exclusive diet of infected meat for the past 10 or so years.  Also know that there is a barrier between cervids and bovids, whose TSEs can infect humans.  Meaning that's what the initial scare is all about, which has now been proven more or less nonsense.  CWD will not cross over into humans or bovids.  It's a cervid disease.  Also we know that we cannot reduce the prevalence in deer and elk populations through density reductions.

I don't worry about it.

WesternHunter's picture
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Hmmm

During the 2008 season I had limited time and hunted elk only a couple days but didn't harvest anything myself.  In '09 and '10 I harvested antelope only.  I was asked and did go to help a less experienced friend of mine on his elk and deer hunts of which he filled tags the last couple years.  I assumed he sent the heads in for testing but never really thought much to ask him about it.  I didn't accpept any of the meat offered so I didn't think much of any concern. I guess I didn't realize the change until reading about it on the DOW page a few weeks ago.

Exbio we may know a little bit more about it but not much of this reassuring information gets posted readily available on the CDOW site or many other states fish and game sites.  The info I found was stuff I had to spend some time and dig for online.  Makes me wonder how safe the authorities really believe we are if they're not going out of their way to give us the information you just did?  Possibly you're right.  If CWD did transmitt to humans we would see evidence of it by now possibly.  I suspect that CWD is a disease that has existed among cervids a lot longer that we think, possibly as long as cervids have existed, but we only discovered it with the last 30 or so years. 

The fact that these prions seem to live forever tells me that if they could infect humans, then simply walking or crawling through the grass where deer and elk have fed, urinated, or deficated could allow the prions to be inhaled or ingested.  The fact that a few hunters were studied becouse they had died from the human variant of a prions disease doesn't tell me much since hunters are a part of the general population and therefore suffer from and are succeptable to the same diseases that plague all of us, including hereditary diseases. Still CWD isn't something I going to be so casual about in my concern.  i think we still need to take precautions.  So let me ask you this Exbio - do you have your deer and elk tested?  Just curious.

exbiologist's picture
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nope

I don't test my animals.  I would not want to know that I was eating meat from an infected animal, but I do not test my game.

hunter25's picture
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I have never had an animal

I have never had an animal tested either but then I have never hunted in an area that has had any positive cases. I didn't realize the testing ever was free as every time I read about it there was a charge listed and that goes back quite a few years. The maps show it getting closer to my area every year but It will still be awhile before it weighs on my mind more.

Actually I guess my unit 10 elk tag qualifies this year but I'll think about it if and when I actually get an animal on the ground.

WesternHunter's picture
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test units

hunter25 wrote:

I have never had an animal tested either but then I have never hunted in an area that has had any positive cases. I didn't realize the testing ever was free as every time I read about it there was a charge listed and that goes back quite a few years. The maps show it getting closer to my area every year but It will still be awhile before it weighs on my mind more.

Actually I guess my unit 10 elk tag qualifies this year but I'll think about it if and when I actually get an animal on the ground.

I think one of the many ways it gets known if a GMU has tested positive or not for CWD is by hunters having their animal tested from an area that was thought to be free of CWD.  If hunters are harvesting deer/elk/moose from a GMU that is thought to be free of the disease and all these hunters go about their merry way without testing, then it may a longer time before we know if CWD exists in that unit or  not.  I'm sure eventually the DOW will get around to finding out, but I've learned from dealing with the government daily that it best not to wait for uncle sam to act.  Just saying.

hunter25's picture
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point taken.

point taken.Thumbs up

WishIWasHunting's picture
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So, my wife got her degree

So, my wife got her degree from CSU in microbiology.  In one of her classes, they dedicated quite a bit of time to CWD, BSE, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.  I forgot most of what we talked about, but I do remember that we both reached the conclusion that the threat from both CWD and BSE were largely overblown by the media.  Just be careful butchering animals, and don't eat the brain and spinal column.  

I am glad CDOW finally figured out the the prevalence of CWD is not a function of game density in a given area.  Unfortunately, they figured it out after they largely wiped out the deer in some of the areas I hunt, and the herds are just now recovering.  

I do realize that some people blame CSU for introducing CWD into Colorado, so they would have a motive for downplaying the CWD threat.  Regardless, I feel comfortable hunting in known CWD units, and I do not bother getting my animals tested.  If CWD is a concern for you, I do think the $25 fee is a reasonable price for the additional peace of mind.  

WesternHunter's picture
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CWD

Yes you're right I think $25 is a reasonable fee for such a check.  The DOW certainly can't keep doing this stuff for free. I've hunted deer and elk for a better part of my life and never worried about it until the last 10 years or so, but up until recently testing was done free.  I think the thing that got my attention was reading a study that found how these prions were found nearly impossible to kill or even alter with extream heat and time. Personally from what I gather it seems the disease has likely always existed among cervids to some degree or another.  But then again I'm sure no wildlife biologist, just a meat hunter.