CASPER – A white-tailed deer harvested in Hunt Area 9 near Newcastle has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The disease had not previously been found in deer Hunt Area 9.
The deer was harvested on a ranch southeast of Newcastle in early October. The area is open to hunting for doe and fawn deer until Nov. 30 with 200 doe/fawn licenses, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department regulations.
“It’s not a surprise that CWD was found in Hunt Area 9,” said Scott Edberg, wildlife supervisor for the Game and Fish’s Casper Region. “The disease has previously been found in the same drainage about 18 miles downstream in South Dakota, and across (U.S.) highway 16 in Hunt Area 6.”
Hunt Area 9 borders the Wyoming/South Dakota state line. Edberg said area landowners are cooperating with CWD research efforts by allowing hunters to harvest antlerless deer and submit them for testing.
The Game and Fish will continue to collect as many samples as possible from deer harvested in the area and killed by vehicles on adjacent highways. CWD surveillance sampling stations will be set up at the Old Mill in Newcastle and at C&A Meats in Sundance Nov. 18-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We encourage all hunters harvesting deer in northeast Wyoming to stop by a surveillance sampling station and have their animal tested,” Edberg said. Collecting additional samples will help the Game and Fish understand how widespread the disease is in the area.
In addition to the positive test in Deer Area 9, a third deer has tested positive for CWD in Hunt Area 8, southwest of Upton. Although Hunt Area 8 is considered an endemic area (the disease has already been documented in this area), there have been only two positives per year since 2003. The most recent positive sample was from a white-tailed deer. The previous positives were from mule deer.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that has been diagnosed in wild deer, elk and moose. Animals show no apparent signs of illness throughout much of the course of the disease. In terminal stages of CWD, animals typically are emaciated and display abnormal behavior.
There is no confirmed link between CWD and any human illness.
For more information on chronic wasting disease visit the Game and Fish Web site at http://gf.state.wy.us.