CWD in Colorado

What is CWD?

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting cervids, the deer family.  

In the US, CWD affects deer, elk, moose, caribou and reindeer.  

What Causes CWD?

CWD is caused by a misfolded protein called a prion.  All mammals produce prions that are used by cells, then eliminated or recycled by the body.  When diseased prions contact normal prions, they cause them to refold into their own abnormal shape.  

Scientists think CWD spreads between animals through contract with contaminated body fluids and tissue.  They also believe it can be spread through contaminated food or water.

What Does CWD Look Like?

As CWD progresses, animals that are infected may have a variety of changes in behavior or appearance such as:


*Lack of Coordination

*Extreme Weight Loss

*Drooping Ears

*No Fear of People

Watch the animal prior to your shot, it might make the difference between a positive and negative test result.

Deer Testing in CO

Several areas are under mandatory testing.  Please check with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to verify if your hunt area is included.

You may elect to have your animal tested if your hunt area is not under mandatory testing.  You can submit your animal for testing for a small fee.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends you avoid shooting animals in the head to prevent tissue damage that must remain for testing.  They also suggest you keep the head cool but not frozen, if possible, and submit the animal for testing with in 5 days.

Getting Your Animal Processed

CWD in humans has not been reported but it is strongly suggested that you avoid eating meat that has tested positive for CWD.  

5280 Processing will accept your animal and process it.  Depending upon the season your order may be completed before your test results are back.  At this time it is estimated that test results can take up to 3 weeks.  

Please note that orders will not be refunded by 5280 Processing if an animal tests positive for CWD.  You should contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife for information on possible reimbursements.

Positive Test Results

If your order is complete and picked up:

*It is recommended that you not eat any meat or products from this animal

*Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife for possible refunds on processing fees/costs.

If your order is still in production:

*Notify 5280 Processing ASAP

*5280 Processing will remove your order from our production line

*5280 Processing will destroy or donate for testing any meat that you do not wish to collect from our location

*Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife regarding possible reimbursement for processing fees

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