A new case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in a harvested mule deer buck 12 miles outside of Dubois this week. It was found in hunting area 128 and neighbors area 171 where CWD had been found earlier this year. According to Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife supervisor in Lander, Jason Hunter, it’s not surprising that the disease has spread.
“We have new, confirmed cases it seems about every year, every other year. You know, we have seen, since CWD was first documented in Wyoming, the spread to other deer and elk hunt areas, and there’s been a progression west over the years,” said Hunter.
In the early stages, there are often no signs that a deer, elk, or moose has been infected. Drooping ears, thick saliva around the mouth, and a sickly appearance are all signs of the disease in the disease’s late stages. Hunter said one of his main tasks in helping to monitor the disease it to collect test samples. This can be done through testing road kill, hunter’s harvests they bring in, and other methods of sampling.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, other genetic things going on with CWD which is interesting,” said Hunter. “The Game and Fish Department has done a lot of work in the past figuring out, or trying to figure out more about CWD and I think that is going to continue on into the future.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission have implemented an updated Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan earlier this year, which includes testing more than 1,600 possible disease samples annually.