According to the Wyoming Game and Fish, hunters are critical to monitoring chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wyoming, a fatal disease that affects moose, elk and deer in the state.
The Game and Fish Department is once again asking for hunters to provide lymph node samples from their harvested deer and elk this fall to test for CWD. According to a news release, in return for samples, hunters may be eligible to win thousands of dollars in hunting gear.
“Elk and deer hunters are on the front-line helping Game and Fish to understand the distribution and prevalence of CWD by collecting and submitting samples for testing,” Deputy Chief of Wildlife Scott Edberg said. “This raffle is one way we can show our appreciation for their efforts.”
Hunters are eligible to win prizes from two tiers when they submit a usable lymph node sample — that means the correct tissue and is in good-condition to be tested. When hunters submit samples from adult male mule or white-tailed deer or any adult elk at least 2-years old from targeted CWD monitoring hunt areas, they have a chance to win Tier I prizes. Those targeted hunt areas are:
Deer: 1-6, 19, 24, 25, 27-33, 41, 46, 47, 50-53, 61, 66, 74-77, 96, 97, 124, 130, 131, 134, 135, 138-146, 150-156, 163, 165, 169. Deer Hunt Areas 96 and 97 require mandatory lymph nodes submissions for testing.
Elk: 13, 15, 21, 41, 45, 67-71, 75, 77-85, 88-91, 97, 98, 102-105, 108, 127, 130
Hunters could win Tier II prizes when they submit samples for all other areas (non-targeted CWD monitoring areas) of the state, regardless of the hunt area.
Tier I prizes:
- Special Edition Nosler Model 48 in .28 Nosler, donated by RMEF, with a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 rifle scope, donated by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Weatherby Vangard High Country in 6.5 Creedmoor, with a Maven RS.1 2.5-15×44 FFP rifle scope, donated by the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, Weatherby and Maven
- Maven S.1S 25-50×80 spotting scope, donated by Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation and Maven
- First Lite Catalyst softshell jacket, Obsidian merino wool pants, and Kiln 250 Aerowool hoodie, donated by First Lite
Tier II prizes:
- Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard rifle in .270 Winchester, donated by Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation & Weatherby
- Maven B.1 (8×42 or 10×42) binoculars, donated by Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation and Maven
- KUIU Valo Camo, Pro 3600 Full Kit Backpack, donated by Muley Fanatics
“We’re grateful to our sponsors whose generosity helps Wyoming’s disease monitoring efforts on CWD,” Game and Fish Wildlife Coordinator Justin Binfet said. “Thank you for supporting this work.”
Winners will be drawn randomly by early March 2022. Winning entries in Tier I will be excluded from entry into drawing for Tier II prizes.
While appearing on Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse program, Game and Fish Public Information Specialist Christina Schmidt informed listeners how to find instructional videos on their website that can teach hunters how to take a proper sample on their own.
That video will teach hunters how to take a sample by watching a how-to video on the Game and Fish and submit it alongside the CWD data sheet. Hunters can also have animals sampled at any game check station this season or by stopping at the Game and Fish Headquarters or regional offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Results from CWD testing are available online within three weeks. Hunters can expedite results within 10 working days for a $30 fee; contact the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie at (307) 766-9925 for more information.
Continued monitoring of CWD over time is important to help Game and Fish understand the potential impacts of this disease in deer and elk herds throughout the state.
Game and Fish has a statewide sampling program to monitor CWD by periodically targeting specific hunt areas on a rotating basis. This long-term effort will help the department determine CWD prevalence throughout the state and formulate management actions to address the impacts of the disease.
Hunters also need to be aware of Wyoming carcass transport and disposal rules to prevent the spread of CWD within Wyoming and other states.
Since 1997, the Game and Fish has been monitoring the distribution and prevalence of CWD to better understand how this disease may affect the health of Wyoming’s deer and elk populations. Initial surveillance goals focused on the detection of CWD in new areas of the state along with monitoring the disease. This disease has now been identified in most deer hunt areas across Wyoming and necessitates a shift in focus of the program from detection to monitoring.
More information and resources for hunters on CWD is available on the Game and Fish CWD webpage.