A cow elk has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Elk Hunt Area 37 near Sheridan, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The elk was harvested by a hunter in late December and although officials say CWD has been previously documented in deer in the overlaying Deer Hunt Area 24, this is the first time an elk has tested positive.

Game and Fish announces when the disease is found in a new hunt area in order to keep hunters informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hunters do not consume any animal that tests positive for CWD or is obviously ill.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says it's also concerned about how CWD may affect the future of Wyoming’s deer. The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose, and recent research in Wyoming and Colorado shows that it may pose a threat to deer populations in areas with a high prevalence of the disease.

Game and Fish says last year personnel tested 5,280 CWD samples during the hunting seasons, which is a significant increase from past years. They're continuing to evaluate new recommendations for trying to manage the disease.  A map of areas where CWD is endemic is available on the Game and Fish website, as well as more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.