Wyoming Game and Fish personnel accept samples of deer to test for chronic wasting disease at a CWD sample station near Alpine. (Wyoming Game and Fish)

As hunting season unfolds, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking some hunters to take an extra step when harvesting their deer or elk: collect and submit a lymph node sample for chronic wasting disease testing. 

Hunters play a key role in helping Game and Fish understand the disease, according to the department. 

“Monitoring the changes in CWD prevalence is important in understanding the potential impacts on affected populations and evaluating the efficacy of management actions,” Communication Director Rebekah Fitzgerald said. “So we are asking hunters to help us by sending in CWD samples.”

Hunters in focused monitoring areas are asked to submit samples. Game and Fish has an instructional video for collecting lymph nodes. Hunters outside the monitoring areas can also submit samples. 

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CWD is a progressive and fatal disease that damages the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose, among other cervids. It was first detected in Wyoming in 1985, and has mounted a steady march across the state, increasing in both prevalence and distribution. 

“We are still learning more about this disease and its effects on Wyoming’s deer and elk populations, but for the first time, there is clear evidence that CWD is adversely affecting the overall health and viability of some herds,” Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik wrote in the recently updated CWD monitoring plan. “As wildlife managers, it’s our job to tackle this difficult issue, but we can’t do it alone.”

Katie Klingsporn reports on outdoor recreation, public lands, education and general news for WyoFile. She’s been a journalist and editor covering the American West for 20 years. Her freelance work has...

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