Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

CWD found in deer hunt area near Meeteetse


November 16, 2017

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department diagnosed chronic wasting disease (CWD) for the first time in Deer Hunt Area 118 near Meeteetse, Wyoming. The Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed CWD in a buck white-tailed deer harvested by a hunter on Nov. 3 near Gooseberry Creek.

Deer Hunt Area 118 is bordered on three sides by hunt areas where CWD has been found previously. A map of the CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

For many years Game and Fish has been asking hunters to help with monitoring the disease by getting their harvested animals tested. Game and Fish also shares the CDC recommendation that hunters should consider getting their animals tested if harvested in a known CWD endemic area and not to consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.

Last year, Game and Fish personnel collected and tested more than 3,350 CWD samples throughout the state, a significant increase from past years. This year Game and Fish will sample a similar number.


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a chronic, fatal disease of the central nervous system in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose. CWD belongs to the group of rare diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These disorders are caused by abnormally folded proteins called “prions.”

Early in disease, animals may show no clinical signs. Later on, affected animals show progressive weight loss, reluctance to move, excessive salivation, droopy ears, increased drinking and urinating, lethargy, and eventually death. Animals will test positive for the disease long before these clinical signs appear and the majority of CWD positive animals that are harvested appear completely normal and healthy.


Evidence suggests that CWD is transmitted via saliva, urine, feces, or even infected carcasses. Animals may also be infected through the environment via contamination of feed or pasture with CWD prions (which can persist for many years). The most likely route of exposure is through ingestion.


CWD was first identified in free-ranging mule deer in southeastern Wyoming in 1985, followed by elk in 1986. Based on early surveillance data and prevalence estimates, a small area in southeastern Wyoming containing the Laramie Mountain mule deer herd, South Converse mule deer herd, Goshen Rim mule deer herd and Laramie Peak elk herd was termed the “core endemic area” where we believe that CWD has been present for the longest period of time. Over the past 20 years, surveillance data has shown an increase in prevalence and distribution of CWD in Wyoming, particularly in deer. CWD is now found across the majority of the state, with new detections suggesting continued westward spread of the disease.

Online: Wyoming Game and Fish.


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