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Editor:

The 6/13 NR article by Angus M. Thuermer Jr., WyoFile, via Wyoming News Exchange, reported that “a Wyoming Game and Fish Department (G&F) regional supervisor said last week” that the 32 member statewide study group (Statewide Study Group) newly appointed by Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) Director Brian Nesvik to formulate a 2020 statewide Wyoming game management plan to specifically address Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) “won’t address disease-transmission at elk feedgrounds.” Per Thuermer, feedgrounds are “22 Game and Fish winter elk feedgrounds, west of the Continental Divide.”

Thuermer characterizes CWD as “the always-fatal cervid disease, a cousin of mad cow disease and the degenerative Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease among humans.”

Per the article, Brad Hovinga, Jackson regional G&F supervisor, stated to those present at a June 4 public meeting in Pinedale “[d]ealing with the feedground issue could weigh down the statewide group.”

Thuermer reported that “[I]nstead, Game and Fish is considering forming a separate, more localized group that would address elk feedgrouds. That would occur ‘after this statewide process’ Hovinga told those at the Pinedale meeting.”

The law is clear; Wyoming elk, including those for which the feedgrounds were established, belong to the entire State of Wyoming and Thuermer reports “Game and Fish has found CWD in deer in about 70 percent -- 91 of 129 – of the state’s deer hunt areas.”

Why then bar the Statewide Study Group from addressing the elk feedground issue? Why are only “locals” allowed to address the elk feedground issue for all Wyoming citzens, particularly if it impacts the spread of CWD which is already a nearly-statewide disease of horrible proportion?

Western Wyoming is generously represented in the Statewide Study Group. And, interestingly, weren’t there only about three of the 32 members of the Statewide Study Group appointed from the entire NE quarter of Wyoming?

Sounds like the G&F is already dictating results of the Statewide Study Group’s proposed 2020 CWD game management plan by peremptorily limiting its scope. I thought from the outset this was going to happen. I just hoped it wouldn’t be this substantial, political, blatant and early. What’s next?

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BOB KLUS, Gillette

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