Wyoming Game and Fish Wants CWD Samples from Seven Hunt Areas in the Bighorn Basin
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 6, 2022
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department needs help from hunters this fall to collect samples from mule deer and elk in the ongoing effort to monitor the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Wyoming Game and Fish wants samples from at least 200 adult mule deer bucks or adult elk in seven hunt areas. All the hunt areas are located in the eastern and central portions of the Bighorn Basin.
|Herd Unit||Hunt areas|
Mule deer, adult bucks
Elk, adult cow or bull
|Elk, adult cow or bull||South Bighorns||
47, 48 and 49
Samples collected from mule deer and elk harvested from targeted areas help Game and Fish to track chronic wasting disease as part of a long-term, state-wide monitoring plan.
Chronic wasting disease (C.W.D.) is widely distributed across Wyoming. The disease is fatal to deer, elk, and moose.
“Our goals with collecting samples and monitoring C.W.D. are to protect the health of wildlife. Hunters and volunteers are critical to helping us understand the disease and achieve our goals,” said Cody area Wildlife Management Coordinator Corey Class.
To help better understand prevalence (the proportion of animals positive vs. all animals tested), impacts on deer herds, and possible management options, Game and Fish is monitoring the prevalence of C.W.D. over many years. Strategically focusing on specific herd units within a given year will help Game and Fish obtain more samples, which allows changes in C.W.D. prevalence to be detected over time. As C.W.D. monitoring goals are obtained within targeted herd units, new herd units are added for targeted surveillance using a scheduled rotation.
Hunters can have animals sampled at any game check station this season or by stopping by the Cody Regional Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Additional options for testing include select processors and taxidermists throughout the Basin, drop barrels for heads located at the Cody Regional Office, Medicine Lodge State Park, and Powell at Northwest College on the south side of the Science and Math Building at 6th and Division Streets.
Hunters can also call the Northwest College C.W.D. hotline at 307-754-6018 to schedule a time during regular business hours for a sample to be collected from a harvested deer, elk, or moose.
A how-to video on how to take samples is available on Wyoming Game and Fish’s YouTube page.
Hunters who submit a usable sample will be entered into a raffle for an opportunity to win quality outdoor gear.
Hunters can win prizes for samples submitted from targeted (Tier 1) and non-targeted (Tier 2) areas. Targeted samples include adult male mule deer or any adult elk from targeted CWD monitoring hunt areas. Non-targeted samples include all other CWD samples regardless of their hunt area.
Tier 1 prizes include:
- Browning Western Hunter LR rifle with Recoil Hawg muzzle brake in .300 P.R.C. and a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 rifle scope, donated by RMEF, Browning, and Leupold
- Weatherby Vanguard High Country rifle in .308, with a Maven RS.1 2.5-15×44 F.F.P. rifle scope, donated by W.Y. Wild Sheep Foundation, Weatherby, & Maven
- Maven S.1S 25-50×80 spotting scope, donated by W.Y. Wild Sheep Foundation & Maven
Tier 2 prizes include:
- Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard rifle in .25-06, donated by W.Y. Wild Sheep Foundation & Weatherby
- Maven B.1 10×42 binoculars, donated by W.Y. Wild Sheep Foundation & Maven
- Stone Glacier Approach 2800, XCurve Frame, medium belt backpack, donated by Muley Fanatics and Stone Glacier
Winners will be drawn in March 2023.
Hunters should refer to page 5 of the 2022 Antelope, Deer, and Elk Hunting Regulations for specific C.W.D. provisions regarding the transportation of harvested animals. In addition, to facilitate the proper disposal of carcasses and help reduce environmental contamination with C.W.D., the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Mule Deer Foundation are providing dumpsters in two locations at no cost to hunters.
Dumpsters will be available at South Bighorn County Landfill north of Basin and Medicine Lodge State Park near Hyattville for hunters to dispose of inedible portions of harvested deer, elk, and moose.
Although this disease is not transmissible to humans, hunters are encouraged to wear rubber or latex gloves when dressing carcasses and avoid handling the brain and spinal tissues. In addition, when butchering, meat should be boned out.
Hunters should not consume animals that appear to be sick. Furthermore, they should avoid consuming harvested animals’ brains, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes.
Washing hands and instruments is good practice. Knives and other equipment can be disinfected by soaking them in 40:60 bleach water for five minutes.