Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Deer Near Jackson
According to a release by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, chronic wasting disease (CWD) is now present in Wyoming’s Deer Hunt Area 155.
The disease was detected in a hunter-harvested buck mule deer in September, and once CWD is found in one animal in a hunt area, the entire area is considered infected.
Deer Hunt Area 155 is just outside of Jackson, and is bordered by two hunt areas, 152 and the Grand Teton National Park, that each tested positive for CWD in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
Sara DiRienzo, public information officer with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said that they've been testing for CWD since 1997 and that currently 80% of the deer hunt areas and 30% of elk hunt areas have CWD present in them.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that hunters don't consume any animals that are obviously ill or have tested positive for CWD.
The disease is 100% fatal to deer, elk, and moose that have been infected, and the only way to reliably test for CWD in animals is if it's dead.
This is the first time this year that CWD has been detected in a new hunt area in Wyoming, compared to four new areas where the disease was found in 2021.
In 2021, Game and Fish personnel tested 6,947 CWD lymph node samples from deer and elk, which DiRienzo was primarily submitted by hunters.
"Hunters are one of the greatest tools and help that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has for chronic wasting disease," DiRienzo said. "The majority of hunters are highly compliant with our rules and regulations. They're also the number one way that we get samples to do the research, both voluntary and mandatory samples, and we're so appreciative of that. Because there would be absolutely no way that we could gain the volume of information that we do if it wasn't for hunter participation."