Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Local hunt areas targeted for CWD sampling

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has designated Crook County’s six deer hunt areas (1-6) as focus areas this year for monitoring Chronic Wasting Disease. Hunters are asked to submit lymph node samples from deer and elk taken within the county to help track the spread of the disease.

“Game and Fish is requesting samples from herds we’ve not addressed in a while, where we are trying to get a significant sample size so we can accurately determine what the CWD prevalence is in these herds,” said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor, in a press release.

The department has been tracking the distribution and prevalence of CWD since 1997 to understand how it affects the deer and elk populations of this state, a process that relies on samples submitted by hunters.

CWD was confirmed as present in the county at the end of 2020, following a positive test from a targeted bull elk. CWD had been on the rise in other parts of Wyoming fairly dramatically, such as around Yellowstone National Park, but the Black Hills had not seen much spread until the early part of that year.

The fatal disease affects deer, elk and moose and is caused by abnormally folded proteins called “prions”. Deer and elk may display no symptoms at first, but the advanced stages of CWD can lead to droopy ears, a lack of energy, a lack of gloss to the coat and lethargy, as well as emaciation in extreme cases.

As well as 1-6, Deer Hunt Areas 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 124, 130, 131, 134, 135, 138-146, 150-156, 157, 165 and 171 are focus areas this year in which hunters are asked to submit samples.

Two parts of the state are meanwhile mandatory testing areas for mule deer, which means hunters must submit lymph nodes: 59, 60, 64, 65, 157 and 171.

In areas 157 and 171, submission is mandatory for both mule and white-tailed deer.

Crook County is not among this year’s targets for elk samples. The department is asking for lymph node samples from 7, 19, 33, 34, 41, 45, 47-49, 67-71, 75, 77-85, 88-91, 93, 95, 96, 102-105, 120 and 127, mostly located in the center and along the western edge of the state.

Hunters who submit testable samples are entered into a raffle for hunting gear.

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