Deer hunters: Chronic wasting disease testing mandatory in southwest Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) reminds successful deer hunters in southwest Colorado that their harvested animals must be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The testing is being done this year as part of CPW’s CWD Response Plan and is critical for deer management planning.

Testing is being required because CPW is working to determine the current prevalence of the fatal disease in western Colorado. This year’s mandatory testing is part of the 15-year monitoring program described in the CWD Response Plan. The plan can be viewed at cpw.state.co.us/cwd.

In southwest Colorado, the game management units where testing is required are: 411, 52, 521, 53, 54, 55, 60, 63, 66, 67 ,68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 681, 682, 711, 741, 751, 771 and 791. Submission sites and locations can be found on the CPW website at cpw.state.co.us/cwd-locations#list.

The testing service is free and individual results will be posted in about three weeks from the time of submission. Hunters whose deer tests positive for CWD will be notified by a single phone call attempt, email and a mailed letter, so hunters are encouraged to ensure their contact information is on file with CPW and is current. Hunters whose animals test positive can call CPW at (303) 297-1192 or email dnr_cpw.cwd@state.co.us for information on the next steps to take.

For submission, hunters must present their license and an accurate location where the animal was harvested. Harvest locations are kept confidential. GPS coordinates are best, but a map location is also helpful. The head of the animal should be removed 4 inches below the lower jawbone and the base of the skull. Heads should be brought in as soon as possible, preferably within five days of harvest. In order to take samples — lymph nodes and tonsils — heads should not be frozen.

For those planning to mount trophies, antlers and capes from harvested deer may be removed by hunters before submitting heads. CPW will not remove antlers or capes. Hunters who are planning shoulder mounts should take their animals to a taxidermist before submitting the head for testing. Please ask your taxidermist or meat processor to leave 4 inches of neck when removing the head. Hunters planning European-mount taxidermy should bring the head to the CPW submission site before taking it to the taxidermist. Hunters who are planning taxidermy or mounting should notify CPW personnel at the submission site.

In Archuleta County, heads can be taken to The Archuleta Fairgrounds 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 7-14 and Nov. 18- 23.

In CPW’s southwest region, heads can be taken to the four area wildlife offices: Durango, 151 E. 16th Street, 247-0855; Gunnison, 300 W. New York Ave., (970) 641-7060; Monte Vista, 0721 S Road 1 East, (719) 587-6900; or Montrose, 2300 S. Townsend Ave (U.S. 550), (970) 252-6000.

 For convenience, hunters can also take their animals to other testing sites in western Colorado. The list of locations can be found at: https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/ResearchCWD-Submission.aspx.

This story was posted on November 6, 2020.