In the ongoing process of testing for chronic wasting disease, five mule deer bucks and a bull elk harvested outside the established area for CWD have tested positive.
Four mule deer bucks and a bull elk taken by hunters in northwest Colorado and one mule deer buck taken by a hunter west of Castle Rock have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
The positive animals were taken in three units – 5, 10 and 51 – where the disease had not previously been detected. The game management units and locations where the animals were taken are:
– Unit 23, five miles south of Meeker; deer was harvested Oct. 20 – Unit 301, 10 miles northwest of Craig; deer was harvested Oct. 20 – Unit 5 in the northwest corner of Routt County; deer was harvested Oct. 24 – Unit 10; deer was harvested Oct. 25 about 28 miles north of Rangely near Dinosaur National Monument. – Unit 51 south of Chatfield Reservoir; deer was harvested Oct. 19 about a mile west of Louviers. – Unit 12; elk was harvested Oct. 20 in the extreme southeast corner of Moffat County northwest of Horse Mountain, just outside the boundary of the Routt National Forest.
The Division of Wildlife is in the process of notifying the hunters who killed the animals, and license fees will be refunded.
Russell George, Director of the Division of Wildlife, pointed out that the number of animals being submitted for testing has increased recently because more hunters were in the field during the second rifle season, which began Oct. 19 and ended Oct. 25. He added that the number of deer submitted for testing increased dramatically because deer hunting was not allowed in most areas during the first rifle season, which ended Oct. 18.
The third season, which began Nov. 2 and ran through Nov. 8, also should result in a large number of deer and elk being submitted for testing.
To date, hunters have submitted more than 16,000 animals for testing and tests have been completed on more than 11,000 of those. From all harvest sources, including hunters, road kills and culling, CWD has been detected in 67 animals, including 22 outside the area of northeastern Colorado (including the most recent positives), where the disease has been detected for more than two decades.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) 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 CWD established 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.
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.
For more information on CWD, testing and the most recent news on the disease, see the Division of Wildlife’s Chronic Wasting Disease Web page at http://wildlife.state.co.us/cwd/.