Hunters' help needed for CWD
CHEYENNE - Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal disease caused by prions that impacts deer, elk, and moose has been documented across much of the state. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reminding hunters that they play a significant role in monitoring the further spread of this disease and providing valuable information for managing CWD. One example is in western Wyoming where the CWD management plan lays out actions based on results of surveillance efforts and this fall hunters can help with this.
“Game and Fish really appreciates all members of the public who submit samples or report unhealthy looking animals. The CWD testing is used to determine distribution and prevalence rates in cervids - elk, deer and moose. It also can inform further management actions, like at our elk feedgrounds. The public plays a very important role in taking on this disease,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division.
With the expansion of CWD into western Wyoming, Game and Fish is putting extra focus on that area by asking hunters to bring in their harvest for sampling to get a better understanding of CWD presence by species and prevalence rates. “This in turn will provide the department the needed data to make proper management decisions,” said Edberg. Specific areas of the state where Game and Fish would like more samples are Teton, Park, Sublette, Lincoln, Fremont, Sweetwater and Uinta counties. Game and Fish is also asking for samples from deer hunt areas 1,2,3,4,5,6 (Black Hills) 59,64,65 and 66 and elk hunt areas 7 and 19.
To submit a sample hunters have several options:
Game and Fish check stations - these are established throughout the state during big game seasons.
In the field - when in contact with a game warden, wildlife biologist, or other employee who are collecting CWD samples.
Wyoming State Veterinary Lab - Hunters wishing to have their animal tested outside the Department’s monitoring program may contact the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie for details and cost. The telephone number is (307) 766.
Select meat processors and taxidermists - in certain locations during opening day or few days after seasons open a Game and Fish employee is present at some of these businesses. Availability varies greatly across the state.
Game and Fish regional offices - in many cases if a hunter stops at a Game and Fish office to get a CWD sample collected, the hunter will have to leave the head at the office until such time a warden or biologist is available to take the sample as they are in the field a majority of the hunting season. But, stop by to check or call first to see what arrangements can be made.
Game and Fish cautions that the testing program is not focused on ensuring the quality of the meat of hunters. Game and Fish does follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations that the public not eat any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD. Game and Fish also urges hunters to wear rubber or latex gloves as a general precaution against all diseases when field dressing an animal.
“There are some tips that Game and Fish offers on the best ways to make sure hunters submit a usable sample,” Edberg said. “We need need the unfrozen and unrotten - fresher the better - head of any deer, elk or moose with the upper portion of the neck attached. The sampling process takes about 5-10 minutes.” Game and Fish will also ask for the hunt area and a specific location where the harvest occurred. If a sample submitted to Game and Fish’s CWD surveillance program tests positive and adequate contact information is provided, the hunter will be notified of the positive test result.
Hunters who participate in Game and Fish’s CWD surveillance program by providing deer, elk, or moose tissue samples and provide adequate information, can obtain test results at:
For more information about CWD in Wyoming, visit the WGFD website at: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Wildlife-in- Wyoming/More-Wildlife/Wildlife- Disease/Chronic-Wasting-Disease For more information about CWD in North America, visit the CWD Alliance website at: http://www.cwd-info.org/.