Six deer submitted by hunters from northwestern Colorado have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The hunters have been notified and their license fees will be refunded.

The game management unit and locations are: –Unit 3, about 16 miles northwest of Craig. –Unit 301, about 4 miles north of Craig. –Unit 22, about 20 miles northwest of Meeker. –Unit 12, about 10 miles south of Craig. –Unit 12, about 6 miles south of Pagoda. –Unit 37/371, just west of Green Mountain Reservoir.

The number of animals being submitted for testing has increased because more hunters were in the field during the second rifle season which ended Oct. 25 and the number of deer submitted for testing increased dramatically because deer hunting was not allowed in most areas during the first rifle season.

The third season, which began Nov. 2 and runs through Nov. 8, should also result in a large number of deer and elk being submitted for testing.

Hunters have now submitted more than 8,000 animals for testing and tests have been completed on more than 6,500 of those. CWD has been detected in 50 animals, including 16 outside the area of northeastern Colorado where CWD has been detected for more than two decades.

Hunters whose deer and elk test positive are called by the Division of Wildlife.

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.