CWD indentified near Bondurant

Wyoming Game and Fish photo A mule deer buck in the Sublette mule deer herd tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The Wyoming

Game and Fish Department confirmed

chronic wasting disease in deer hunt area 152,

approximately 12 miles west of Bondurant on

Willow Creek.

The mule deer buck that tested positive

was hunter-harvested. This is the first time

CWD has been found in deer hunt area 152,

part of the Sublette mule deer herd, and is in a

hunt area close to wintering elk feedgrounds.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer,

elk and moose.

“Seeing a deer test positive for CWD west

of the continental divide again is concerning,”

said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of wildlife.

“Game and Fish is always concerned about

the spread of CWD. We have conducted

CWD surveillance for more than two decades

and have focused efforts on monitoring

the disease and those methods continue this

year.”

CWD has been previously detected in mule

deer nearby hunt area 152 – one south of

Afton in 2016, one south of Pinedale in 2017

and one north of Jackson in 2019.

CWD has not been detected in elk wintering

on any of Wyoming’s 22 feedgrounds

or the National Elk Refuge to date. Game

and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

have provided supplemental feed to elk

during the winter months for more than 100

years. Feedgrounds maintain elk population

objectives while also maximizing separation

of elk from cattle to prevent property damage

and minimize brucellosis transmission

to cattle. However, feedgrounds concentrate

large numbers of elk in small areas for several

months, increasing the potential for the spread

of diseases among elk, including CWD. Currently

in Wyoming the prevalence rate of

CWD in elk is typically less than in deer.

Knowing this, Game and Fish will continue

several initiatives related to elk feedgrounds

and CWD, including CWD personnel and surveillance

on elk feedgrounds and surrounding

winter range. Game and Fish delays feeding

as late as possible into the winter and discontinues

feeding early in the spring to lower

transmission possibility between elk. Game

and Fish disease biologists and seasonal

CWD sample technicians in the Jackson and

Pinedale regions focus specifically on monitoring

and management.

Any animal exhibiting potential symptoms

of CWD is lethally removed and sampled.

Game wardens, wildlife biologists and

other employees are trained to collect CWD

samples whenever possible – hunter-killed

animals, vehicle-killed animals and targeted

removals – in an effort to maximize sample

collection and associated disease detection.

Education is also a large component of

monitoring CWD. Game and Fish has a

website to inform hunters of current CWD

protocols and connect the public to wildlife

managers. Further, Game and Fish is in the

midst of revising the agency’s CWD management

plan through a public collaborative

process. Next year, Game and Fish will conduct

a public process for a management plan

specifically geared toward managing CWD

on feedgrounds.

“When CWD is found on elk feedgrounds,

we will all be faced with some difficult discussions

regarding elk management in western

Wyoming,” said Brad Hovinga, Jackson

regional wildlife supervisor. “Game and Fish

has been working to lay the groundwork to

minimize impacts and be prepared, but we realize

this is a serious wildlife dilemma where

solutions will require broad public support

and a collaborative approach that includes

help from partner agencies, elected officials,

sportspersons, the general public and local

communities.”

Game and Fish reminds hunters and the

public they play a significant role in monitoring

the distribution of this disease and provide

valuable information for managing CWD. If

you see a deer, elk or moose that appears to be

sick or not acting in a normal manner, please

contact your local game warden, wildlife biologist

or Game and Fish office immediately.

Visit the Game and Fish website for more

information on chronic wasting disease transmission

and regulations on transportation and

disposal of carcasses. The Centers for Disease

Control and the World Health Organization

recommend that people should not eat deer,

elk or moose that test positive for CWD.

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