Nine mule deer and an elk taken by hunters outside the established area for chronic wasting disease have tested positive.
Nine more mule deer and an elk taken by hunters outside the chronic wasting disease established area in northeastern Colorado have tested positive for the disease.
The deer were taken in game management units 211 (2), 13, 12, 11, 181 (2), 28 and 161. Two of the positive deer were does, which were harvested in GMUs 181 and 28. The unit 28 doe was harvested Nov. 15. The elk was taken Oct. 20 in unit 12.
Five of those units are locations where the disease had not previously been detected. Those are units 211 (between Meeker and Craig), 11 (northwest of Meeker), 161 (North Park), 181 (north of Kremmling) and 28 (which surrounds Winter Park). Unit 12 is northeast of Meeker and unit 13 is southeast of Craig.
The bucks in 211 were taken Nov. 2 and Oct. 19 in the Triangle area and near Duffy Mountain. In unit 11, the buck was taken Nov. 2 about one mile north of Rio Blanco Reservoir. In unit 13, the buck was taken Nov. 3 about a mile north of Hamilton, and in unit 12, the buck was taken Nov. 3 about 12 miles east of Hamilton.
The Division of Wildlife is in the process of notifying the hunters who killed the animals, and their license fees will be refunded.
The number of animals being submitted for testing has increased recently because more hunters were in the field during third and fourth rifle seasons. The number of deer submitted for testing also increased dramatically because deer hunting was not allowed in most areas during the first rifle season.
To date, hunters have submitted around 20,800 animals for testing and test results have been released on around 16,000. From all harvest sources, including hunters, road kills and culling, CWD has been detected in 91 animals, including 31 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 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 the 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/.