COLORADO – Along with wildlife agencies in at least 26 other states, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is tackling a serious wildlife issue: Chronic Wasting Disease.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), is gaining attention across the nation with 26 states now reporting CWD-infected animals.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, CWD is a prion disease that affects ungulates such as deer, elk, and moose. The disease is always fatal and infected animals can develop symptoms like weight loss, stumbling, and listlessness. The has been no evidence anywhere to show that CWD has been transmitted to a human, but the Center for Disease Control and CPW recommend that hunters do not eat the meat of a CWD-infected animal.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said they’re addressing the problem head-on in the state. At a January 20th meeting, the CPW Commission unanimously approved the Colorado Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan.
CPW said the plan was the culmination of a year-long effort by the CWD Advisory Group to explore the history of CWD, the status of CWD infection in Colorado’s herds, and the best available tactics for lowering the prevalence of the disease.
According to CPW, the plan provides a suite of tactics that wildlife managers can implement to lower CWD prevalence. The plan’s recommendations are intended to allow for a localized management approach best suited for individual herds that is in coordination with Herd Management Plans. CPW said some of these tactics include changing the buck-to-doe ratio, increasing the harvest, and issuing more late-season tags for specific GMUs.
Although CPW is tackling this problem head-on, they say there is no overnight fix for CWD.
The agency has a 15-year plan that will use rotating mandatory tests on hunter-harvested bucks that they hope will give a complete picture of Colorado’s CWD prevalence every five years.
In his presentation to the CPW Commission, Director of the CWD Alliance, Matt Dunfee said, “This is a disease you measure in decades, not years. Without action, it will only increase in prevalence and distribution.”
You can see the complete response plan here: Colorado Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan
You can find more information on CWD and hunting in Colorado here: https://cpw.state.co.us/cwd