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CODY, Wyo. - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking hunters for help with collecting samples from mule deer and elk for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing in target hunt areas. Hunters may even win a prize.

In a release, Game and Fish said they aim to collect samples in the Big Horn Basin from at least 200 adult mule deer bucks or adult elk in the following areas:

Species

Herd Unit 

Hunt Area

Mule deer, adult bucks

North Bighorns

50-53

Mule deer, adult bucks

Paintrock

41, 46 and 47

Mule deer, adult bucks

Greybull River

124, 165

Elk, adult cow or bull

Medicine Lodge elk

41,45

Hunters harvesting mule deer bucks or adult elk in these specific areas are asked to submit samples to Game and Fish for testing. Samples from does, white-tailed deer, elk and moose throughout the Basin will be tested if requested by hunters.

“Our goals with collecting samples and monitoring CWD are to better understand and manage the health of wildlife populations. Hunters and volunteers are very important to helping us understand the disease and achieve our goals,” Cody area Wildlife Management Coordinator Corey Class said. “Although it's an additional benefit to hunters, Game and Fish does not CWD test deer and elk for the purpose of helping hunters make an informed decision on whether or not to consume the animal.”

CWD is widely distributed across Wyoming and is fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Focusing on specific herd units within a given year will help Game and Fish obtain more samples, allowing changes in CWD prevalence to be detected over time.  

Hunters can have animals sampled at any game check station this season or at the Cody Regional office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For tentative check station locations and hours, hunters can call the regional office at 307-527-7125.

Additional testing options include select processors and taxidermists throughout the Basin, drop barrels for heads located at the Cody regional office and in Powell at Northwest College on the south side of Science and Math Building at 6th and Division Streets, or calling the Northwest College CWD hotline at 307-754-6018 to schedule a time during regular business hours for a sample to be collected. 

If you are uncertain of how to take a sample, you can learn how by watching this video from the Game and Fish website: Lymph Node Removal for CWD Sampling - YouTube.

Hunters who submit a usable sample will be entered into a raffle to win outdoor gear. You 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 what hunt area they came from.  

Tier 1 prizes include:

  • Special Edition Nosler Model 48 in .28 Nosler, donated by RMEF, with a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44 rifle scope, donated by RMEF
  • Weatherby Vangard High Country in 6.5 Creedmoor, with a Maven RS.1 2.5-15x44 FFP  rifle scope, donated by WY Wild Sheep Foundation, Weatherby, & Maven
  • Maven S.1S 25-50x80 spotting scope, donated by WY Wild Sheep Foundation & Maven
  • First Lite Catalyst softshell jacket, Obsidian merino wool pants, and Kiln 250 Aerowool hoodie, donated by First Lite

Tier 2 prizes include:

  • Vanguard Weatherguard rifle in .270 Winchester, donated by WY Wild Sheep Foundation & Weatherby
  • Maven B.1 (8x42 or 10x42) binoculars, donated by WY Wild Sheep Foundation & Mave
  • KUIU Valo Camo, Pro 3600 Full Kit Backpack, donated by Muley Fanatics

Winners will be drawn in March 2022.

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