CWD Found in Two Wild Deer

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Colorado Division of Wildlife officers killed 18 deer early Wednesday in southwest Routt County, near the area where two deer that tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) were found last week.

The carcasses have been shipped to Fort Collins, where they will be tested to determine if they have the fatal brain-wasting disease. Results are expected next week.

“We did not find a large number of deer in the area because some animals have begun their spring migration to a higher elevation, and because we had already removed animals during our culling efforts last week,” said Dan Prenzlow, Division area wildlife manager.

The 18 animals were killed to learn if a “hot spot” of CWD infection exists in the area along the south fork of the Williams Fork River and to prevent the spread of the disease, which affects deer and elk, from that location. Division wildlife managers have found similar hot spots in areas of northeastern Colorado, where they are working to stop the spread of the disease.

Tests completed late Monday determined that two of the 311 deer killed last week during a Division culling effort had tested positive for CWD. They were the first two infected deer found in the wild in western Colorado.

Division Director Russell George immediately directed wildlife officers to kill deer found within a five-mile radius of where the two positive animals were found. The Division used global positioning equipment to pinpoint the location of each animal taken.

The culling effort was conducted around the perimeter of an elk ranch in southwestern Routt County where the two deer with CWD were found last month. The source of the infection is unknown.

Chronic wasting disease has been found in portions of northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming for more than three decades, but has never been found in wild populations in other portions of Colorado until this week. The Division has been culling deer herds within the northeastern Colorado endemic area to prevent the spread of the disease and to reduce its prevalence.

The Division will continue to test additional animals in western Colorado to determine if CWD exists in other wildlife populations there.