LARAMIE – The first deer and elk to test positive for chronic wasting disease in deer hunt area 77 and elk hunt area 8 south of Laramie were discovered this hunting season by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory and Game and Fish Department.

The discovery was not surprising because CWD has been confirmed in all surrounding hunt areas in both Wyoming and Colorado, according to Bob Lanka, Game and Fish wildlife management coordinator in Laramie.

Both animals testing positive south of Laramie were hunter-killed adult females. The deer was taken on Jelm Mountain Oct. 2 and the elk on Boulder Ridge very near the Colorado border Oct. 3.

“Even though we expected CWD to show up in this area at some time, it is still a little disappointing when we have to add another hunt area to the list of positive areas,” Lanka said.

Hank Edwards, wildlife disease specialist in charge of testing and mapping CWD data, reports his crew has examined the lymph nodes from 1,800 hunter-harvested deer and elk this fall for CWD and expects to test a total of over 4,000 samples this year. No other new area hunt areas in Wyoming have been discovered with CWD this fall.

CWD is a communicable disease of the deer family caused by an abnormal protein or prion. There is no evidence that CWD can infect humans.

As tests are completed the Game and Fish will keep the public informed of any other cases of CWD found in new hunt areas.