The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) announced today that a mule deer buck taken by a hunter in game management unit (GMU) 102 has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first case of CWD to be found in GMU 102, which is located in southern Yuma County. The deer was taken near the headwaters of Black Wolf Creek.
Tissues from the animal were submitted by the hunter to the DOW as part of the DOW’s CWD surveillance program. Both the initial test and a second test conducted to confirm the deer had CWD were performed at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory.
“Based upon what we know about deer movements out of river bottoms, it isn’t surprising to find a positive deer in this location,” said Mike Trujillo, district wildlife manager for the DOW in Yuma. “Previous research has shown some deer move back and forth from the plains to the South Platte River bottom, where about 4 percent of mule deer have CWD.”
The DOW is in the process of notifying those who will be hunting in the area that a deer taken in the area has tested positive, and that the DOW is interested in collecting additional samples during the late plains rifle season (Dec. 1 to Dec. 14), the whitetail-only season in GMU 101 (Dec. 15 to Dec. 31), and the remaining archery season. Hunters with licenses valid for these seasons in GMUs 101 and 102 will also be notified that the CWD testing fee will be waived as an incentive for hunters to submit samples. Samples will be accepted for testing at the DOW’s Wray Fish Hatchery on Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hunter harvest is relatively low on the Eastern Plains as compared to some of the GMUs located west of I-25. The DOW has collected just over 100 samples from GMUs 101 and 102 since 2003, and all previously collected samples had tested negative.
CWD is a fatal neurological illness of elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose. Animals with CWD have been found in portions of northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming for more than two decades.
Federal and state health officials have found no connection between CWD and human health. As a precaution, they recommend that humans not consume meat from animals that appear ill or test positive for the presence of disease, including CWD.
For more information about CWD, log onto: http://wildlife.state.co.us/cwd/index.asp