Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Chronic wasting disease 2020 surveillance and monitoring

Chronic wasting disease 2020 surveillance and monitoring

October 05, 2020
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Click here to see a video on how to collect your own CWD sample. 

Since 1997, Wyoming Game and Fish has monitored the distribution and prevalence of CWD to better understand how this disease affects the health of Wyoming’s deer and elk populations. Continued monitoring of CWD over time is important to help Game and Fish understand the potential impacts of the disease as well as evaluate management actions for deer and elk.

Initial surveillance goals focused on the detection of CWD in new areas of the state. This disease is now identified in most deer hunt areas across Wyoming and necessitates a shift in focus of the program from detection to monitoring.

In 2019, Game and Fish initiated a new monitoring regime that focuses testing on rotating hunt areas in each departmental region of the state to give wildlife managers better information on prevalence of the disease in deer and elk herds. To get reliable prevalence estimates for a specific area, samples from at least 200 animals are needed.

The Powder River mule deer herd, which encompasses hunt areas 17, 18, 23 and 26 between Sheridan and Gillette, north of Interstate 90, was the Sheridan Region’s targeted herd for 2019. Through the voluntary efforts of resident and nonresident deer hunters, we were able to exceed our goal of 200, and tested 293 samples.

Results showed an overall 11 percent prevalence rate for adult mule deer bucks, though rates varied by hunt area. Adult mule deer buck prevalence ranged from two percent in Hunt Area 17 to 14 percent in Hunt Area 26. Sixty-three adult buck white-tailed deer were tested with a resulting prevalence rate of 35 percent. 

This year’s targeted areas in the Sheridan Region are the Pumpkin Buttes mule deer herd, located south of Interstate 90 between Buffalo and Gillette in hunt areas 19, 29 and 31 and the Upper Powder River mule deer herd in hunt areas 30, 32, 33, 163 and 169. Game and Fish is asking that if you harvest a deer in one of these hunt areas, please submit a sample for testing to help achieve our goals. Personnel will make contact with hunters in the field, at a game check station or at meat processing facilities to ask for a CWD sample from a harvested animal. Sampling takes just a few minutes and requires removing a set of lymph nodes from the neck of the animal.

Hunters who wish to submit a sample but are not contacted by personnel, can bring their animal or the head of their animal to the Sheridan Regional Office at 700 Valley View Drive in Sheridan during regular business hours. Be prepared to leave it for a couple days if there is not an employee available immediately to take a sample.

Hunters in the Buffalo and Kaycee area can call and leave a message at the Buffalo Field Office at 307-684-2801 or take your animal to the Bureau of Land Management Buffalo Field Office at 1425 Fort Road during regular business hours.

Hunters in the Gillette area can call and leave a message at 307-670-8164. Gillette-area hunters wishing to collect their own sample, can pick up a testing kit from the South Gillette Game Warden Station at 908 Apricot Street. Kits will be placed in an outside cooler, along with sampling instructions. Samples can then be returned to the cooler when complete. 

Participation is voluntary, but hunters are very important in helping Game and Fish understand the disease and achieve CWD monitoring goals. Hunters harvesting deer outside of this year’s focused surveillance areas can still submit a sample for testing by bringing their animal to the Sheridan Regional Office. Results from all tested animals will be available on the Game and Fish website within three weeks of testing.


- WGFD -

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