Two elk taken by hunters in Grand County and Rio Blanco and a deer near Chatfield Reservoir have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

Two Western Colorado bull elk and a deer just west of Chatfield Reservoir have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Hunters killed all three animals last week in areas where the disease has previously been found in deer or elk.

The bull elk were taken in Grand County near Grand Lake and in Rio Blanco County, four miles north of Buford.

CWD was detected in two Grand County elk last week and a muzzle-loading hunter killed an elk with CWD in September west of Green Mountain Reservoir south of Grand Lake.

The elk north of Buford was taken about 10 miles southwest of where 10 mule deer were found with the disease earlier this year.

The Chatfield deer was found not far from where an archery hunter killed a deer with CWD in September.

Hunters have submitted more than 8,000 animals for CWD testing so far this season, many within the past week. Test results have been recorded on more than 3,000 animals submitted by hunters as well a small number of deer and elk killed on roads and highways. CWD has been detected in 37 of those, including 10 outside the area of northeastern Colorado where CWD has been established for 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 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.