Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of the central nervous system in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Special regulations were adopted by the De-partment to decrease the spread of the disease. Details about CWD, where it exists in Wyoming and testing for the disease are provided on the Department website. For more information on CWD or to check your CWD sample results, please visit: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Wildlife-in-Wyoming/ More-Wildlife/Wildlife-Disease/CWD-in-Wyoming-Wildlife.
The Department will not notify hunters directly with CWD test results. For hunters wanting to collect lymph nodes from their harvested deer, elk or moose for CWD testing can watch a video on how to do so at: Wyoming Game and Fish Department - Lymph node removal video
Most animals infected with CWD show no clinical signs early on, but after a year of being infected with the dis-ease, animals will begin to show weight loss, reluctance to move, excessive salivation, droopy ears, increased drinking and urinating, lethargy and eventually death. Not all animals will show the typical signs of CWD. The majority of all CWD positive animals harvested appear completely normal. The only way to know whether your harvested animal has CWD is to have it tested.
There are several ways to get your harvested animal test-ed:
- Game check station – someone is normally available to sample your harvested animal for CWD.
- WGFD regional office – you may have to leave the head if personnel are not immediately available.
- Results from WGFD surveillance are usually available online within 3 weeks.
- If you want results within 10 working days, contact the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie at (307) 766-9925 ($30 fee).
- Quarter and freeze your animal until test results are re-turned to save on meat processing costs if your animal is positive.
To date, there have been no cases of CWD in humans and no direct proof that humans can get CWD. However, public health officials recommend that CWD positive animals not be consumed. Some basic precautions that hunters can take to reduce their risk to CWD include: do not consume any animal that tests positive for CWD; do not harvest or consume any an-imal that appears sick; wear rubber or latex gloves when field dressing carcasses; mini-mize handling of brain, eyes, lymph nodes, spleen or spinal cord; and, wash your hands and utensils thoroughly after field dressing or processing game meat. Knives and other butchering equipment can be disinfected by soaking in 40% house-hold bleach for 5 minutes (may rust some equipment).
Transportation and Disposal of Deer, Elk and Moose Taken within Wyoming – Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Provisions.
(a) Deer, elk and moose taken in Wyoming may be trans-ported within Wyoming to a camp, a private residence for processing, a taxidermist, a processor, or a CWD sample collection site in Wyoming, provided the head and all por-tions of the spinal column remain at the site of the kill or such parts are disposed of in any approved landfill or ap-proved incinerator in Wyoming.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, only the following parts of any deer, elk or moose taken in Wyoming may be transported in Wyoming: edible por-tions with no part of the spinal column or head attached; cleaned hide without the head; skull or skull plate or ant-lers that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; teeth; or, finished taxidermy mounts.
(c) Only the following parts of any deer, elk or moose taken in Wyoming may be transported to other states, provinces or countries: edible portions with no part of the spinal col-umn or head; cleaned hide without the head; skull or skull plate or antlers that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; teeth; or finished taxidermy mounts. Whole deer, elk and moose carcasses shall not be transported out of Wyoming.
(d) Nothing in this section shall apply to the transportation or disposal of deer, elk and moose taken by any govern-mental agency or educational institution.
Importation of Deer, Elk or Moose Taken From Outside of Wyoming
(a) Deer, elk or moose taken from within any other state, province or country may only be imported into Wyoming if carcasses are transported directly to a private residence for processing, to a taxidermist, to a pro-cessor or to a CWD sample collection site provided the head and all portions of the spi-
nal column are disposed of in an approved
landfill or incinerator.
Mandatory CWD Sample Submission
The Department may mandate hunters submit CWD sam-ples from harvested deer, elk and moose from designated hunt areas within Wyoming to evaluate testing, monitoring and management actions.
If the Department mandates hunters submit CWD samples, public notice shall be given through the Department web-site, publications and news releases.
(a) Mandatory submission of CWD samples from harvested deer, elk and moose may be established annually by the Department when necessary to meet its CWD testing and monitoring requirements or to implement and evaluate management actions related to CWD. Mandatory CWD sample submission of deer, elk and moose shall end when the Department achieves sampling goals for designated hunt areas, as stipulated by Department personnel prior to enacting any mandatory CWD sample submission. The Department shall determine the type, time frame and method of CWD sampling required for submission.
(b) When the Department mandates hunters submit CWD samples, public notice shall be given through posting of mandatory submission requirements in Department of-fices and designated license selling agents, electronic or traditional mailings to known license holders (and other sportspersons) and through the Department website, pub-lications and news releases.
(c) It shall be a violation of Commission regulation for a hunter to fail to submit mandated CWD samples in accor-dance with this section
For 2022, hunters are required to submit CWD sam-ples from deer harvested in hunt areas 59, 60, 64, 65, 157 and 171. See Deer Hunting Seasons.