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Hunters' help needed to monitor CWD in Idaho

 
August 10, 2021
Cut: Sara Cassinelli/Idaho Fish and Game

By Sara Cassinelli, Idaho Fish and Game
Chronic Wasting Disease is a threat to Idaho’s big game animals, and Fish and Game needs to prevent it from entering the state and monitor for it within the state. CWD is a contagious and fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk, and moose in North America. There is no live test or known cure for CWD.

CWD has not been detected in Idaho to date; however, animals in Montana, Utah and Wyoming have the disease, and infected animals have been found close to the Idaho border.

Idaho Fish and Game staff sampled 1,113 mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose in 2020 and early 2021 to test for Chronic Wasting Disease, and found no positive cases. This is an ongoing effort, and the majority of the animals tested came from hunters who allowed samples to be taken from big game they harvested. That will continue during fall hunting seasons.

Hunter participation is critical for monitoring CWD and keeping it out of Idaho.

Hunters can help increase the number of Idaho deer, elk and moose sampled for CWD by doing one of the following:
  Collecting samples from harvested animal and dropping them off at identified Idaho Fish and Game collection locations or a Regional Office.
  Dropping the head of harvested animal at identified Idaho Fish and Game collection locations or a Regional Office.
  Stop at one of Fish and Game’s big game check stations during hunting season. All drop off locations and check station information will be available on the Idaho Fish & Game CWD page.
  CWD sample kits can be requested directly from Fish and Game by emailing your mailing address to wildlifelab@idfg.idaho.gov.

What if you see an animal that appears to have CWD?

Fish and Game welcomes reports by hunters and citizens. A person should accurately document the location of the animal (GPS coordinates if possible) and report the species and gender, if known. Take pictures, if possible, and immediately contact the nearest Fish and Game regional office.

Do not attempt to touch, disturb, kill or remove the animal. Remember, early detection in an area is vital to containing the disease and preventing it from spreading to other areas of the state. You can also report online at Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health webpage.

For more information about CWD, and what Fish and Game is doing to prevent it, see the CWD information webpage.
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