Wyoming Game and Fish director testifies to US Senate Committee about CWD

Testimony provided a history of CWD management in Wyoming and impacts to the state’s wildlife populations.

12/6/2019 10:35:20 PM

Cheyenne - Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Brian Nesvik testified this week to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, applauding their consideration to form a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chronic Wasting Disease Taskforce. CWD is currently found in 26 states and four Canadian provinces, drawing national attention as it spreads throughout North America.

“This is a national problem that requires the collective thought, wisdom and experience of members of the government, academics, non-governmental organizations and elected leaders,” Nesvik told the EPW committee chaired by Wyoming Sen. John Barasso Wednesday. 

Nesvik’s testimony provided a history of CWD management in Wyoming and impacts to the state’s wildlife populations. CWD a chronic, fatal disease of the central nervous system in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. These disorders are caused by abnormally folded proteins called “prions.”

“Since we discovered CWD in our state 40 years ago, we have looked at all options to find solutions to slow its spread and seek answers to tough questions,” Nesvik said. “We have engaged in our own vaccine research in the past and worked with regional and national experts to share ideas and identify potential management options.”

In testimony, Nesvik outlined some of the benefits a national CWD taskforce could provide to Wyoming and other states including: improved information sharing, funding for expensive CWD research, bringing together experts and cross-state coordination on carcass transport and disposal policies. 

Recently, Wyoming has expanded its efforts to study and manage CWD. For the 2019 hunting season, Game and Fish focused CWD surveillance on specific areas throughout the state to better understand how this disease may affect the health of Wyoming’s deer and elk populations. Hunter participation is part of the three-pronged management approach to collecting lymph node samples. Testing lymph nodes is currently the only way to detect the prion that causes the always-fatal disease.

“We ask hunters to voluntarily submit samples, set up check stations to take samples and also target animals that look sick,” Nesvik said.

Game and Fish convened a collaborative CWD Working Group to provide input on updating the state’s CWD management plan. A draft of the plan is available for public comment now and public meetings are being held throughout the state. 


(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))

- WGFD -


Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approves changes black bear hunting regulations

Commission moves forward on solutions to employee housing in Jackson

Continue reading...

Cheyenne Field Archers donation provides 2,170 acres of hunting and fishing public access

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently received a $700 donation

Continue reading...

Anglers break Cutt-Slam record in 2019

It was a record year for one of the most sought-after achievements for anglers

Continue reading...

Donate to Access Yes when applying or buying licenses

Wyoming boasts over 2.8 million acres of hunting access and 4,007 lake acres and 89 stream miles for fishing on private land

Continue reading...

Riverton man earns first-ever Ultimate Angler status

Danny Kurttila achiedved one of the highest honors among the fishing challenges

Continue reading...

Game and Fish Commission to meet in Cheyenne

The public is invited to attend open house and meeting

Continue reading...

Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s 2019 year in review

The most notable events in 2019 feature one important component - you.

Continue reading...

Game and Fish laboratory supervisor selected as Wildlife Professional of the Year

Award given annually by the Wyoming Chapter of the Wildlife Society


Continue reading...

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People