Top Stories January 8, 2019

Game & Fish Worry About CWD On Feedgrounds

by Jackson Hole. Media

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is concerned about how chronic wasting disease may affect the future of Wyoming’s deer, elk and moose populations. CWD is fatal for those big game species. Already, CWD is affecting some deer populations in the state. Game and Fish officials believe it’s a matter of time before CWD will ultimately arrive in elk at feedgrounds. While it has not affected the state and federal feedgrounds, Game and Fish is concerned what will happen to the elk populations when it does. Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have provided supplemental feed to elk during the winter months for more than a century in order to maintain elk population objectives and keep the elk separated from cattle to minimize brucellosis being transmitted to cattle. However, feedgrounds concentrate large numbers of elk in small areas for several months, increasing the potential for the spread of diseases among elk, including CWD. Knowing this, Game and Fish has implemented several initiatives relating to elk feedgrounds based on the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan. This includes increased CWD personnel and surveillance, and modification of hay distribution to elk over a much larger area in a grid pattern to decrease elk density while feeding. Still, Jackson Regional Wildlife Supervisor Brad Hovinga says, “When CWD is found on elk feedgrounds, we will all be faced with some difficult discussions regarding elk management in western Wyoming.”

photo:wgfd

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