Biologists have confirmed chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer hunt area 152, about 12 miles west of Bondurant on Willow Creek.
A buck, harvested by a hunter, tested positive. It is the first time CWD has been found in that area, which is part of the Sublette mule deer herd. It is close to wintering elk feedgrounds.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose.
“Seeing a deer test positive for CWD west of the continental divide again is concerning,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of wildlife. “Game and Fish is always concerned about the spread of CWD. We have conducted CWD surveillance for more than two decades and have focused efforts on monitoring the disease and those methods continue this year.”
A deer with CWD was found in a hunt area south of Afton in 2016, one south of Pinedale in 2017, and one north of Jackson this year.
So far, CWD has not been found in elk wintering on any of the state’s 22 feedgrounds or the National Elk Refuge. Wyoming Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have provided supplemental feed to elk during the winter months for more than 100 years.
Game and Fish personnel believe the program helps separate elk from cattle to prevent damage to property and spread of brucellosis. But, large concentrations of elk in small areas, for several months, increase the potential for spread of disease among elk. At this time, CWD is typically found less in elk than in deer.
The agency will delay feeding as late as possible and discontinue it as early as possible to lower the possibility of transmission. Game and Fish biologists and seasonal technicians will focus specifically on monitoring and management.
Any animal with potential symptoms is lethally removed and sampled. Hunters are also being encouraged to brush up on CWD protocols.
And, if you see a deer, elk or moose that appears to be sick, contact the nearest Game and Fish Office.
The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend people should not eat animals that test positive for CWD.