CHEYENNE (RELEASE) – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department diagnosed chronic wasting disease (CWD) for the first time in Deer Hunt Area 52 on the western slope of the Bighorn Mountains.  The Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed CWD in a mule deer buck harvested by a hunter on Oct. 16 near Crystal Creek on public land.

Deer Hunt Area 52 borders Deer Hunt Area 122 to the west and Deer Hunt Area 51 to the south, both of which are in the CWD endemic area for deer. To date, CWD has not been detected in the adjoining deer hunt areas to the north (area 53) and east (area 50). A map of the CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

“Deer and elk hunters play a very important role in detecting CWD,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division. “Hunters who submit samples for testing greatly assist with  Game and Fish’s monitoring efforts.”

For many years, Game and Fish has been asking hunters to help with monitoring of the disease by getting their harvested animals tested. Game and Fish also shares the CDC recommendation that hunters should strongly consider getting their animals tested if they are harvested in a known CWD endemic area and that the public not eat 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.