Regional Offices > Laramie Region > Laramie Region News > Chronic Wasting Disease monitoring to occur in Platte Valley and Shirley Mountains mule deer hunt ar

Chronic Wasting Disease monitoring to occur in Platte Valley and Shirley Mountains mule deer hunt areas

September 27, 2023
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Laramie - Wyoming Game and Fish Department is monitoring Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prevalence in mule deer hunt areas 70, 78, 79, 80, and 81 this fall. These hunt areas in the Laramie Region are just a handful of the total units being monitored statewide for CWD in deer and elk this year. 

Hunters who harvest mule deer in areas 70, 78, 79, 80, and 81 this fall are encouraged to submit samples from their deer for CWD testing. Acceptable samples include removed lymph nodes or the deer’s head with at least 4 inches of neck attached. For directions on how to identify and remove lymph nodes, please watch the Lymph Node Removal training video, available on the Game and Fish website.

Game and Fish personnel will be available at field check stations and the Laramie Regional Office to assist hunters with sample removal and submission. There will also be deer head drop boxes stationed around these hunt areas this fall. These drop boxes will have a short form to fill out and leave with the deer’s head, allowing Game and Fish to collect information about where the animal was harvested. Hunters who drew tags in monitoring focus areas will receive additional email correspondence detailing locations of drop boxes and check stations.

If desired, hunters who submit CWD samples from harvested animals will be able to access laboratory test results within three weeks at Test results from samples submitted to the Game and Fish Wildlife Health Lab are provided at no cost. This service is available to any hunter, regardless of if the animal was harvested in a CWD monitoring focus area. Expedited CWD testing is also available through the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for a $40 fee. Hunters who do not wish to be notified of test results can notify the Game and Fish staff receiving the sample, or write a comment on the submitted paperwork.

CWD is a chronic, fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of deer, elk, and moose. It causes proteins to fold, creating abnormal protein formations called prions. These prions disrupt normal nervous system functions, and as the disease progresses, animals become lethargic, have progressive weight loss, and eventually die. Other symptoms include excessive salivation and droopy ears. Importantly, during early stages of the disease, animals may not show any signs of sickness. 

CWD monitoring is critical to understanding where the disease is located in the state and what impact it is having on wildlife populations. Collecting samples from hunters provides a method to gather necessary disease prevalence information without inflicting sampling-specific mortality on deer herds. Game and Fish encourages hunters to participate in this monitoring effort, and appreciates the time hunters take to submit samples.

If CWD is detected in a harvested animal, the hunter may discard the meat without violating wanton waste laws. The CWD report from the Game and Fish Wildlife Health Lab serves as permission to dispose of edible portions. To date, there have been no cases of CWD in humans and no direct proof that humans can get CWD, however the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not consuming meat from animals with CWD.

If you have any questions about CWD monitoring in the Platte Valley or Shirley Mountains, please contact Teal Cufaude, Game and Fish wildlife biologist in Saratoga, at 307-321-7087. General CWD questions can be directed to the Laramie Regional Office, 307-745-4046, or the Wildlife Health Laboratory, 307-745-5865.

- WGFD -

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