Credit Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
DENVER – Colorado Parks and Wildlife has selected specific deer hunts for mandatory chronic wasting disease testing in 2022 to inform how and where to fight the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Beginning in early October, CPW will be sending letters to Colorado rifle season deer hunters who have been selected for mandatory CWD testing. CPW will require mandatory submission of CWD test samples (heads) from all deer harvested during rifle seasons from specific game management units to better evaluate the infection levels of CWD in herds. There will be no charge for mandatory testing. Find the hunt codes selected for mandatory testing of deer on pages 21-31 of the 2022 Colorado Big Game Brochure.
CWD testing locations
A complete list of CWD testing submission sites along with hours and locations can be found here: CWD Testing and Submission Information. CPW is continuing the use of temporary CWD submission sites to assist those who are hunting in remote locations.
Where has CWD been found?
The results of annual mandatory testing are yielding new insights into varying infection levels in deer herds throughout Colorado. As of April 2022, CWD has been detected in 40 of 54 deer herds, 17 of 42 elk herds, and 2 of 9 moose herds. The estimated proportion of sampled animals that are infected (or disease “prevalence”) appears to be rising in many Colorado herds. Click here to read the 2021 Chronic Wasting Disease Commission Update.
Testing in 2021
- Over 7,000 samples tested statewide (includes all species)
- None of the 14 elk herds targeted for mandatory testing had prevalence above 5%
- CWD prevalence in harvested elk appears to track prevalence in mule deer bucks harvested in the same Game Management Units
- Six mule deer herds were included in mandatory testing for a second consecutive year and the results confirmed the 2020 prevalence estimates
What is CPW doing to address CWD?
CPW is working to ensure long-term health of deer, elk and moose herds. Over time, this means minimizing the number of animals that get infected and die from this disease. To date, management actions have been prescribed for half of Colorado’s 54 deer herds with the goal of reducing infection levels to below 5%. More information about our plan to manage CWD is available in the Colorado Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan.
What are the health risks to humans?
CWD is a prion disease that affects Colorado’s deer, elk and moose. The disease course generally lasts 2 – 3 years and is always fatal. Although there has been no evidence that CWD has yet been transmitted to humans, the Center for Disease Control, along with CPW, recommend that hunters not eat the meat of a CWD-infected animal.
More information about CWD is available on CPW’s website.
More information on prion diseases is available on CDPHE’s website.