November 23, 2022 |

Chronic Wasting Disease continues to be a health issue for Wyoming’s big game herds. On November 15th at the Platte Valley Community Center Wyoming Game and Fish biologists held a public meeting to discuss CWD and the impacts the disease is having.

Martin Hicks is wildlife management coordinator with state the agency. Hicks explained to Bigfoot 99 what CWD is and how it affects an animal.

Chronic Wasting Disease mainly affects deer, elk, and other cervids. It is spread through bodily fluids and waste. Once CWD is in the environment, it’s hard to eradicate it. Hicks said Game and Fish are still trying to understand the disease so they may battle it more effectively.

Containing CWD involves thinning effected herds through euthanasia. Hicks said November 15th’s CWD presentation was to inform the public about the disease and what Game & Fish is doing to combat its spread.

Symptoms of Chronic Wasting Disease can take up to two years to manifest. It has no cure. An animal suffering from early CWD may appear completely healthy. The wildlife management coordinator explained what happens when the disease fully takes hold.

Hicks added that effected animals tend to be extremely skinny because the disease has destroyed their brains to the point where they forget how to eat.

The Game and Fish wildlife manager said deer herds in other parts of Wyoming have CWD rates of up to 40%. Here in the Valley, 8% of mule deer have the disease. While our area has fewer instances of Chronic Wasting Disease than others, Hicks said Game and Fish is taking notice.

To monitor the prevalence of the disease, Hicks said Game and Fish set up check stations for hunters to bring their kills.

If an animal tests positive for CWD, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control recommend people not consume the meat. Hicks said Game & Fish follow those guidelines. He added there have been no cases of humans contracting Chronic Wasting Disease from deer meat.

If someone spots a deer or elk suspected of having CWD, call your local WGFD office to report it. Agents will come and euthanize the animal.

Hicks said there will be more CWD meetings next summer.

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