Last year, Eric Washburn shot and killed a mule buck in Northern Colorado. Its thick coat and massive rack of antlers convinced him of the animal’s health, so he had the meat processed and chucked it into his freezer.
A few weeks later, a mandatory Colorado Parks and Wildlife test revealed the animal had chronic wasting disease. The deadly neurological condition was first discovered in Fort Collins, in 1967. It’s similar to mad cow disease, but affects deer, elk and moose.
Washburn had to toss his venison since there’s an outside chance CWD could someday spread to people.
“All of that beautiful meat went into the garbage rather than feeding the family for the year,” he said. “It just showed me you can’t tell by looks which deer are diseased and which are not.”
Wolves, however, might not have the same difficulty discerning the difference.
Since the predators hunt weak or otherwise vulnerable prey, the logic follows that they might pick off CWD-infected animals. The threat of a wolf pack could also force deer and elk into smaller herds, helping to stem the spread of the disease.
Read the rest of this story at Colorado Public Radio.