A buck mule deer killed by a hunter in Mesa County has tested positive for CWD.

A buck mule deer killed by a hunter in northeastern Mesa County on the Western Slope has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The deer was taken with a muzzleloader Sept. 20 about 9 miles northeast of Collbran on the south side of Battlement Mesa in game management unit 421. It is the first CWD-positive mule deer found in western Colorado this season, and the first since 10 wild deer killed during a special culling effort this spring in southwestern Routt County tested positive for the disease.

Two separate tests on the deer taken Sept. 20 were performed at Colorado State University’s diagnostic laboratory.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has notified the hunter who killed the deer. The Division will refund the hunter’s license fee along with any professional game processing fees he might have paid.

The buck was the third CWD-positive animal found in western Colorado in September. An elk with CWD was taken north of Hayden in Routt County and another elk with CWD was found just west of Green Mountain Reservoir in Summit 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 DOW offices around the state and at the offices of some veterinarians. For a complete list and for more information about CWD, visit the DOW Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us, or call a DOW office.

The DOW will call all hunters whose animals test positive. But if hunters want to see the results for themselves, they can find them on the DOW’s Web site. Click on “Chronic Wasting Disease” on the lefthand side, then click on “CWD Test Results” and enter the submission number.

The main call center at DOW headquarters in Denver can check results for hunters who don’t have Internet access, but hunters should be aware that getting through will be difficult, as the center currently is receiving about 17,000 calls a month.

Testing is voluntary for hunters outside the established area in northeastern Colorado and costs $17. Deer and elk hunters in the established area are required to submit their animals for testing.

To ensure testing accuracy, the animal’s head should be kept cool so that brain tissue needed for the test is in good condition. Do not allow the head to rest in water, and do not put it in a freezer. Samples that have spoiled cannot be accurately tested.

Division of Wildlife

© Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance