SALT LAKE CITY — Two buck deer taken in Utah during this year’s archery hunt have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Division of Wildlife Resources announced Sept. 17.
Both of the deer were taken in eastern Utah. One was taken on Diamond Mountain north of Vernal. The other was taken on the LaSal Mountains east of Moab. Both deer were adult animals, meaning they were at least two years old. The hunters who took the deer have been notified that the animals they took had chronic wasting disease (CWD).
CWD was first confirmed in deer in Utah in February 2003. To date, four deer in eastern Utah have tested positive for the disease, which is fatal to deer and elk that contract it. According to the World Health Organization, there is currently no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans from infected deer and elk.
“We sampled 205 deer taken on 17 units across the state during the archery hunt, and these are the only deer that have tested positive so far,” said Leslie McFarlane, wildlife biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “Our conservation officers and biologists in the 17 units will take samples in the field from deer taken during the upcoming muzzleloader buck deer hunt. We’ll also set up check stations during the opening weekend of the general rifle hunt in October to test more.”
Hunters who take a deer on any of the 17 units during the muzzleloader hunt can also have their animal checked at any of the DWR’s six offices. The offices are open Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To obtain a proper tissue sample, the animal must be at least one year old and the sample must be collected within 48 hours of the animal being killed. The head must be kept cool but not frozen.
“We’re only sampling deer that have been taken on the 17 units this year,” McFarlane said. “If we get enough samples to obtain the statistics we need, we’ll switch and sample the remaining units next year.”
Maps of the units that are being sampled are available on this Web site or at any DWR office. The DWR Web site also includes additional information about CWD and links to other Web sites where people can learn more about the disease.
For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.