Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has diagnosed chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer doe that was found dead near Pinedale. As part of its CWD Management Plan, Game and Fish increased CWD monitoring on and around the state’s elk feedgrounds and big game winter ranges this year. To accomplish this goal, Game and Fish hired additional technicians in the Jackson and Pinedale regions and one of those technicians removed a dead doe mule deer from a person’s yard near the Pinedale airport in February. The doe mule deer tested positive for CWD.
The disease has the highest prevalence rates in deer, but also is found in elk and to a lesser degree, moose. This deer was found in Deer Hunt Area 139, where CWD has not been previously discovered and is not adjacent to any other positive CWD deer, elk or moose hunt areas.
“Game and Fish has put a priority on increasing surveillance in Sublette, Lincoln and Teton Counties on deer, elk and moose so we can better understand the distribution of CWD there and continue to implement efforts outlined in the CWD Management Plan. This winter has had the most intense post-hunting season monitoring we have conducted for CWD in western Wyoming to date,” said Scott Edberg, deputy division chief of the Wildlife Division. “Finding this positive deer is very unfortunate and concerning. It does let us know that the added surveillance has yielded valuable information. We will continue our increased level of monitoring in and around the new CWD positive area, including testing and removal of any animals showing clinical symptoms of CWD or animals we find dead that are suitable for testing.”
Since January 1, 2016, Game and Fish tested 228 deer, 147 elk and 28 moose for CWD from the Pinedale region. Similar efforts have been conducted in Jackson region. The new CWD technicians made that increased level of sample collection possible.
Game and Fish reminds the public that if they 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. Last year, Game and Fish personnel collected and analyzed more than 3,350 CWD samples throughout the state, a significant increase from past years.
Please visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.