Wyoming Game and Fish identifies six new CWD deer hunt areas

— December 26, 2014

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has identified six new deer hunt areas where it has identified Chronic Wasting Disease in hunter-killed deer.

The always-fatal and incurable wasting disease is endemic in many deer hunt areas in eastern and north-central Wyoming. The recent discoveries put the disease as far west as Meeteetse and Lander.

The agency revealed the information in a monthly summary of information from the Laramie region. It said CWD was found in deer in hunt area 116 near Meeteetse and area 160 near Lander.

Both areas abut the eastern edge of mountains that rise to the Continental Divide. Wildlife managers and advocates are wary that the disease might infect elk west of the divide where many are concentrated on feedgrounds in the winter.

Elk hunt area 108 was the latest area where the disease had been detected in that species. Elk hunt area 108 is on the eastern edge of the Great Divide Basin at the southern end of the Wind River Range.

It marks the farthest western extent of the disease found among elk. Feedground critics fear Chronic Wasting Disease would spread rapidly on winter elk feedgrounds.

One infected moose had been found in Star Valley, west of the divide. An infected deer had been found in hunt area 123 .

In addition to the deer hunt areas near Meeteetse and Lander, Game and Fish reported CWD found in deer in other new hunt areas; 36 near Shoshone, 84 southwest of Rawlins, 97 near Muddy Gap and 123 near Lovell.

Game and Fish received 1,335 samples from hunters by the end of November. Seventy-eight of them tested positive.

The agency expects some more samples to come in, perhaps reaching 1,500 by the end of the year, the newsletter said.

— WyoFile reporter Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Correction: The article has been corrected to accurately number a hunt area where a mule deer testing positive for CWD had been found. The original article said hunt area 133 instead of the correct 123. — Ed.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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