CPW asks deer hunters to watch out for chronic wasting disease testing letter

A deer peeks through the tall grass near Steamboat Springs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will require test samples from all deer harvested for specific hunt codes this year so the agency can try to better track chronic wasting disease in Colorado.
John F. Russell

Hoping to fight the spread of chronic wasting disease, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has selected specific deer hunts this year for mandatory testing.

Beginning next month, CPW will send letters to rifle deer hunters in Colorado who have been selected for the mandatory testing.

Chronic wasting disease can affect deer, elk and moose. The disease usually takes two to three years to run its course and is always fatal.

Although there has been no evidence that chronic wasting disease has been transmitted to humans, both health and wildlife officials recommend that hunters not eat an infected animal’s meat.

According to the agency, CPW will require test samples from all deer harvested during the rifle seasons from specific game management units to better evaluate the infection levels.

There will be no charge for the testing. Hunters can find the deer hunt codes selected for mandatory testing in the 2022 Colorado Big Game Brochure. CPW is also continuing to use temporary CWD submission sites for those who might be hunting in remote locations.

A complete list of testing submission sites, along with hours and locations, can be found at CPW.State.Co.Us/Learn/Pages/ResearchCWD-Submission.aspx.

As of April, chronic wasting disease has been detected in 40 out of 54 deer herds, 17 of 42 elk herds and two of nine moose herds. Additionally, the estimated proportion of sampled animals that are infected appears to be rising in many Colorado herds.

CPW is working to ensure long-term health of deer, elk and moose herds by minimizing the number of animals that get infected. To date, management actions have been prescribed for half of Colorado’s 54 deer herds with the goal of reducing infection levels to below 5%.

More information about the plan to manage CWD is available at CPW’s website.

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