During the May CPW Commission meeting, officials discussed transitioning to a new CWD Management Plan. The management of CWD has been an ever-evolving battle in Colorado. When CWD was first discovered in the state decades ago the CPW tried to quell it by killing off much of the deer herd in certain areas. Despite this effort, the disease still remains in the area today.
Now the CPW is using mandatory CWD testing to do its best to track the prevalence of the disease in deer and elk. This testing has given the CWP several data points. Firstly, 28 deer units have been found to have a prevalence of over 20%. The goal is to keep the prevalence below 5% in deer and elk herds.
in 2021, the CPW focused heavily on the testing of its elk herds. This data showed that CWD is less prevalent overall in elk. However, it did detect that several elk herds had a prevalence between 5-10%.
Starting again in 2022 officials will focus again on deer for the next 5 years. This plan will work to implement and focus on the following management tactics:
- Reducing deer population or density in units that have a positive rate of over 5%.
- Lower the male/female ratio in units that have a positive rate of over 5%. Males tend to have double the infection rates of females.
- Look at changing the age structure in those units. 4- to 6-year-old bucks tend to have the highest infection rates.
- Continue the mandatory testing program throughout the state.
The above-listed actions will be implemented in 27 of the 54 deer herds. While mandatory testing will be used throughout the state to monitor the spread or decline of the disease.