Good news for NW Wyoming elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley

Infected moose may have been an anomaly-

Wyoming’s ungulates herds in NW Wyoming, including Yellowstone Park may have dodged the CWD bullet for now.

Wyoming Game and Fish may still have a short time to do away with wintertime elk feeding. Of course, they won’t.

Story: Good news for elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.



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  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    This story has some serious problems. G&F testing of mule deer in the area of Forest Park FG in the Greys River draingage after the moose incident appears to have been non-existent. Also, there is no reason to believe that the infected moose wandered in from Utah, as CWD is not known in areas of Utah from which a moose would have wandered into Wyoming and then across the Salt River Range into the Greys River draingage. Finally, moose as a rule aren’t very migratory in the Yellowstone Country, whereas both mule deer and elk are.

    It is more likely that this moose was infected by mule deer from the Green River Basin migrating through the Wyoming Range into the Greys River drainage. We have to understand that not only is CWD moving west from the endemic areas of southeastern and southcentral Wyoming, but it is also possible for it to come up the Green River from Colorado. CWD was first found on the West Slope in Colorado in 2003 on a game ranch where domestic deer came into contact with wild deer. (Another reason to eliminate all game farms).

    The various pollyanna claims by Dr. Terry Kreeger of the Wyo G&F Dept. are sheer nonsense. G&F is still acting negligently in maintaining feedgrounds in the face of the growing disease threat.


  2. jdubya Avatar

    The only thing “oddball” about this is the myopic attitude of G&F. Watching CWD creep across the west is a bit like Whirling Disease except the animal vectors are not as robust for CWD as WD (pelicans are better movers of WD spores than coyotes are for CWD prions). Just like that Walmart Superstore down the road, CWD will eventually become endemic in the entire west, it is just a matter of time. The main question is will infection rates remain low or will they balloon?

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Agreed, except that we don’t know that coyotes are vectors for CWD. We do know that elk and deer are vectors, deer being more efficient than elk, although why that is, we don’t know that either.

    There is no doubt that infection rates in the Yellowstone Country will be much higher with elk feedgrounds than without them.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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