Two elk killed by hunters in Middle Park on Oct. 12 have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
One was a cow elk taken by a hunter about five miles northeast of Kremmling the opening morning of the first rifle season. The second was a bull killed about seven miles northwest of Granby.
Three elk now have been detected with CWD in Middle Park. The first was a young bull killed by a black powder hunter just west of Green Mountain Reservoir last month.
Hunters now have submitted more than 6,000 animals for testing to Division of Wildlife collection sites around the state, many within the past few days. Colorado State University’s Diagnostic Laboratory has completed testing on more than 2,000 of these. CWD now has been detected in 25 of those animals, including the two found last week in Grand County.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease of deer and elk that has been found in portions of southeastern Wyoming and northeastern Colorado for more than two decades. State and federal health officials have found no connection between CWD and any human illness. But as a precaution, hunters are advised not to eat the meat from any diseased animals.
Hunters may submit their animals for testing at Division of Wildlife offices around the state and at the offices of some veterinarians. For a complete list of submission sites and for more information about chronic wasting disease, visit the Division’s Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us, or call a Division of Wildlife office.
Testing is voluntary for hunters outside the established CWD area in a portion of northeastern Colorado and costs $17. Deer and elk hunters in the established area are required to submit their animals for testing and the test is free.
To ensure testing accuracy, the animal’s head should be kept cool so the tissue sample to be tested is in good condition. Do not allow the head to rest in water and don’t freeze the head. Samples that have spoiled cannot be accurately tested.
The Division of Wildlife will call all hunters whose animals test positive. Hunters who wish to see the results for themselves can find them on the Division’s Web site. Click on “chronic wasting disease” on the left-hand side, then click on “CWD Test Results” and enter the submission numbers.
Hunters also may check the results for themselves by calling a special CWD hot line. The CWD hot line number is (800) 434-0274. Hunters will need the head submission number from the test form to activate an automated response system similar to those used by airlines to provide arrival and departure information.
The main call center at Division of Wildlife headquarters in Denver also can check results for hunters needing help. But with more than 17,000 calls received each month, customer service agents may not always be immediately available.