Four New Deer Hunt Areas Documented With CWD

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Wyoming’s statewide surveillance efforts have revealed four additional hunt areas with chronic wasting disease, a fatal brain disease that affects mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk.

Three of the areas, deer hunt areas 74, 79 and 81, were in southeast Wyoming near other hunt areas where CWD has been documented, but the fourth, a mule deer buck, was harvested in hunt area 164 south of Worland.

“We certainly did not expect this,” said Kevin Hurley, Cody Region wildlife management coordinator of the positive result near Worland. “But this is exactly why the department made the decision to collect samples statewide this fall.”

Samples are being collected, voluntarily, from hunters at meat processing plants, hunter check stations and field checks. Of the 3,893 samples tested through Oct. 31, 98 were positive for the disease. Letters were sent to all hunters whose animals tested positive.

“Our procedure is to inform hunters if we turn up a positive as soon as possible. It is standard operating procedure and it’s the responsible thing to do,” Hurley said. According to Hurley, the letter provides more information about the disease including the World Health Organization’s findings and recommendations.

Currently, the World Health Organization says there is no evidence that CWD in deer and elk is transmitted to humans, but they further state that no part or product of any animal with evidence of CWD or other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) should be fed to any species (human or any domestic or captive animal).

Hunters can check test results of samples submitted from their harvest by logging onto the Game and Fish Web site or calling (307) 777-4600 and providing the barcode number or name, date of birth they were given when they submitted their sample.

“The department’s goal is to provide hunters with the information they need to keep informed about wildlife issues,” said Dennie Hammer, G&F information specialist in Cody. “There is a lot that we don’t know about CWD, but what we do know we want to pass along to hunters and others who might be concerned. The October issue of Wyoming Wildlife Magazine has fifteen pages devoted to an in-depth review of the disease and each regional office has informational brochures available.”