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Hunter submitted CWD samples helps management of disease

A hunter in orange walks across a snowy landscape at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.
Lori Iverson
A hunter in orange walks across a snowy landscape at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.

There are several hunting areas in the state that require hunters to submit a sample of their harvest to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This is part of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WGFD) managementof the deadly neurological disease.

Sara DiRienzo, the department’s spokesperson, said hunter submitted samples are a really important tool for the management of the disease.

“We couldn't possibly get the volume of data that we have without those hunter submitted samples,” she said.

WGFD has been monitoring CWD since 1997. DiRienzo said the data helps the state better understand how the disease affects the health of herds. She said they rotate annually where testing is mandatory, usually to regions where they need better data.

“Some of these areas that we're targeting is because we need more information on those,” said DiRienzo. “And that's why we have those rotational ones to try to get us a lot of information from certain areas each hunting season.”

The data informs their management strategies. This year the department is targeting 35 deer hunter areas and 37 elk areas. While there has been no documented case of humans getting CWD, the CDC recommends people do not eat infected animals. Game and Fish offers testing samples for hunters even if it is not required.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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