Deer hunters be advised: Colorado Parks and Wildlife sending out mandatory testing letters soon

A deer exhibiting symptoms of Chronic Wasting Disease.
A deer exhibiting symptoms of Chronic Wasting Disease.(Terry Kreeger / Wyoming Game & Fish & CWD Alliance)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:31 PM MDT
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STATEWIDE, Colo. (KKCO) - Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Tuesday that it will be sending out letters soon to Colorado rifle season deer hunters who have been selected for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.

CPW states that it will be requiring mandatory submission of deer heads from all deer harvested in specific areas during rifle season to evaluate infection levels of Chronic Wasting Disease. You can find the closest testing location to you as well as more information on the submission process by clicking here.

According to CPW, Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected at varying levels in 40 of Colorado’s 54 deer herds, 17 of 42 elk herds, and 2 of 9 moose herds. Chronic Wasting Disease prevalence appears to be rising in many herds.

Chronic Wasting Disease is caused by misfolded proteins called prions. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the disease develops when normal proteins in the host’s brain malfunction and cluster in structured groups. In other words, the tiny components that make cellular machinery function on the most basic level become warped and stop working correctly, not unlike how a warped gear in an engine will cause damage to the surrounding parts, eventually leading to the engine breaking down and ceasing to work correctly. It’s the same concept, just very, very small and transmissible.

Fortunately, CPW says that there is no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease infecting humans, but still recommends against eating infected meat.