(Cheyenne, WY) – Hunters have submitted over 4,800 lymph node samples from deer and elk for chronic wasting disease testing thus far this hunting season to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The samples are a valuable part of helping Game and Fish understand the disease and achieve CWD monitoring goals. As the hunting season continues, hunter-submitted samples remain important.
Game and Fish is targeting Deer Hunt Areas 1-6, 19, 24, 25, 27-33, 41, 46, 47, 50-53, 61, 66, 74-77, 124, 130, 131, 134, 135, 138-146, 150-157, 163, 165, 169 and 171. New this year; Deer Hunt Areas 96 and 97 require mandatory lymph nodes submissions for testing.
Elk focus hunt areas include 13, 15, 21, 41, 45, 67-71, 75, 77-85, 88-91, 97, 98, 102-105, 108, 127 and 130.
“We’ve had good participation in our CWD sampling program this year,” said Hank Edwards, Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor. “But, we still need more samples to meet our goals, so please submit from your later-season elk and deer harvests.”
In 2020, Game and Fish personnel tested 6,496 CWD samples.
Hunters outside of this year’s focused surveillance areas can still submit a sample for testing. Hunters can learn how to take a sample by watching a how-to video on the Game and Fish website and submit it alongside the CWD data sheet. Hunters can also have animals sampled at any game check station this season or by stopping at the Game and Fish Headquarters or regional offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hunters who submit samples are entered into a prize raffle.
Results from CWD testing are available online within three weeks. Hunters can expedite results within 10 working days for a $30 fee; contact the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie at (307) 766-9925 for more information.
Continued monitoring of CWD over time is important to help Game and Fish understand the potential impacts of the disease as well as evaluate future management actions for deer and elk.
Game and Fish has a rotational sampling program designed to monitor CWD throughout the state by targeting specific hunt areas. The method provides the long-term data collection needed for CWD while not overwhelming the Wildlife Health Laboratory with testing.
Hunters also need to be aware of Wyoming carcass transport and disposal rules to prevent the spread of CWD within Wyoming and other states.
Since 1997, the Wyoming Game and Fish has been monitoring the distribution and prevalence of CWD to better understand how this disease may affect the health of Wyoming’s deer and elk populations. Initial surveillance goals focused on the detection of CWD in new areas of the state along with monitoring the disease. This disease has now been identified in most deer hunt areas across Wyoming and necessitates a shift in focus of the program from detection to monitoring.
More information and resources for hunters on CWD is available on the Game and Fish CWD webpage.