JACKSON, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has asked hunters this fall to collect lymph node samples from deer and elk for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing in focused monitoring hunt areas across Wyoming.

Hunters are an important component in helping Game and Fish understand the disease and achieve CWD monitoring goals.

The department has tracked the distribution and prevalence of CWD since 1997 to better understand how it affects the health of Wyoming’s deer and elk populations. Hunter-submitted samples are crucial to managing the disease in wildlife herds. 

“Game and Fish is requesting samples from herds we’ve not addressed in a while, where we are trying to get a significant sample size so we can accurately determine what the CWD prevalence is in these herds,” said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor. 

For 2022, Game and Fish is asking hunters to submit samples from within deer hunt areas 1-6, 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 124, 130, 131, 134, 135, 138-146, 150-156, 157, 165, 171. Deer hunt areas 59, 60, 64, 65, 157 and 171 are mandatory testing areas for CWD. That means hunters who harvest mule deer in these areas must submit a lymph node sample for testing. Areas 157 and 171 are mandatory for both mule deer AND white-tailed deer samples. 

“Mandatory areas are geared to places where it is difficult to get an adequate number of samples,” Edwards said. “Last year’s mandatory areas went very well. We had great compliance by the public and we were able to meet our surveillance goals. We couldn’t have done that without the public’s support.”

The elk hunt areas targeted for lymph node samples are 7, 19, 33, 34, 41, 45, 47-49, 67-71, 75, 77-85, 88-91, 93, 95, 96, 102-105, 120, 127. 

Hunters outside of this year’s focused surveillance areas can still submit a sample for testing. Learn how to take a sample by watching a how-to video on the Game and Fish website and submit it alongside the CWD data sheet. The department can take a sample at any open game check station, the Game and Fish Headquarters or regional offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Hunters who submit testable lymph node samples are entered into a raffle to win top-notch prizes 

Results from CWD testing are available online within three weeks. The only way for hunters to get results of their deer or elk’s CWD test will be to check online through the Game and Fish website.

She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.