Deer Tests Positive for CWD

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A deer killed by a vehicle about four miles east of Hayden in northwest Colorado has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The animal, found in game management unit 13, was sent in for testing as part of the Colorado Division of Wildlife's routine surveillance for chronic wasting disease.

The deer was picked up by the Division of Wildlife on Oct. 4, just south of U.S. Highway 40. It is the second positive mule deer found on the Western Slope this season.

So far, the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State University's diagnostic laboratories have tested about 1,600 deer and elk for chronic wasting disease since the hunting seasons began, and to date, 18 hunter-killed animals have tested positive.

Five animals have tested positive this hunting season outside of the established endemic area in northeast Colorado: the road-killed deer found in unit 13; a hunter-killed elk near Green Mountain Reservoir in Summit County; a hunter-killed mule deer northeast of Collbran; an injured elk killed north of Hayden by the Division of Wildlife; and a hunter-killed mule deer south of Denver and west of Chatfield Reservoir.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease of deer and elk that has been found in portions of southeastern Wyoming and northeastern Colorado for more than two decades. State and federal health officials have found no connection between chronic wasting disease and any human illness. But as a precaution, hunters are advised not to eat the meat from any diseased animals.

Hunters may submit their animals for testing at Division of Wildlife offices around the state and at the offices of some veterinarians. For a complete list of submission sites and for more information about chronic wasting disease, visit the Division of Wildlife's Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us, or call a Division of Wildlife office.

The Division of Wildlife will call all hunters whose animals test positive. Hunters wanting to see the results for themselves they can find them on the Division of Wildlife's Web site. Click on 'Chronic Wasting Disease' on the lefthand side, then click on 'CWD Test Results' and enter the submission number.

The main call center at Division of Wildlife headquarters in Denver can check results for hunters who don't have Internet access, but hunters should be aware that getting through will be difficult, as the center currently is receiving about 17,000 calls a month.

Testing is voluntary for hunters outside the established area in northeastern Colorado and costs $17. Deer and elk hunters in the established area are required to submit their animals for testing.

To ensure testing accuracy, the animal's head should be kept cool so that brain tissue needed for the test is in good condition. Do not allow the head to rest in water, and do not put it in a freezer. Samples that have spoiled cannot be accurately tested.