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Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in new Elk Hunt Area in eastern Wyoming

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CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed a hunter-harvested cow elk has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Elk Hunt Area 113, according to a release Monday. 

The area, located partially in the Thunder Basin National Grassland in the Sheridan Region, borders two Elk Hunt Areas to the north and to the west (123 and 129) where CWD was detected in 2020 and 2021, respectively.  

“Elk Hunt Area 113 is the fifth new elk area confirmed as CWD-positive this year,” “Elk Hunt Area 113 is the fifth new elk area confirmed as CWD-positive this year,” said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory Supervisor Hank Edwards said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends hunters do not consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD. The disease is 100% fatal to deer, elk and moose that have been infected. 

A map of CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website. The agency is monitoring the disease over time to track its prevalence and evaluate future management actions for deer and elk.

Throughout the fall, Game and Fish says hunters play an important role in monitoring CWD, and has been asking hunters to collect lymph node samples from harvested deer and elk for testing in monitored hunt areas across Wyoming. 

“Each CWD sample we receive, especially from our focus surveillance areas, is valuable for monitoring and understanding the disease,” Edwards said. “Please make an effort to submit a CWD sample of your harvest.”

When hunters submit samples, they are entered into a prize raffle.

Game and Fish has conducted surveillance for CWD in Wyoming for more than two decades.

“Based on the past, wildlife managers know CWD will be documented in additional deer and elk hunt areas within Wyoming,” WGFD said.

In 2020, Game and Fish personnel tested 6,496 CWD samples and continue to evaluate new recommendations for trying to manage the disease. So far, over 5,600 samples have been tested in 2021. 

Please visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease testing, transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.

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