Fish and Game asks salmon region hunters to test animals harvested for CWD


The following is a press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

SALMON – Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, was first detected in Idaho in 2021 after more than 20 years of proactive monitoring and testing. CWD is a contagious and fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. There is no cure for this deadly disease.

Following last year’s detections and as part of its annual monitoring program, Idaho Fish and Game is asking hunters to provide samples from harvested deer and elk to help determine the extent of the disease and the prevalence of infection. The tests also allow hunters to know if an animal they have harvested has the disease.

Annual sampling in Lemhi and Custer counties takes place in units 21, 21A, 29, 30, 30A, 37 and 37A. Units 28 and 36B were added this year as additional areas of interest.

This fall, deer and elk hunters hunting in these areas are strongly encouraged to have their harvested animals tested. Hunters from other regions can also submit samples of their animals.

Hunters can provide a CWD sample in several ways:

  • Deer and elk heads can be brought to the regional salmon office for testing, or hunters can drop off their lymph node samples 24 hours a day at designated sample collection sites. Local collection sites include the Fish and Game Regional Salmon Office, North Fork General Store, Stage Stop in Leadore and Stephens Gulch near Challis. Backcountry drop off locations include Lower Loon Airstrip, Cougar Ranch Airstrip, and Thomas Creek Airstrip. Sampling kits and instructions are available on these sites.
  • Visit a big game testing station at Stephens Gulch near Challis or the weigh station near Carmen from October 10, where Fish and Game staff can take a sample and provide hunters with a way to check test results. tests.
  • Hunters can request a CWD test sample kit if they want to extract the lymph nodes themselves and have them tested. Fish and Game will supply the kit and testing is free. Hunters should allow at least one week for sample kit delivery. Hunters can request a test kit and pick it up at a regional Fish and Game office.
  • Instructions for removing lymph nodes are available on the Fish and Game website, along with an instructional video. Tests cannot be performed on the meat of the slaughtered animal.

There is no live test, vaccine or cure for CWD, and it is virtually impossible to eliminate it from the environment. Fish and Game’s focus for chronic wasting disease is early detection, containment and management.

Some states with CWD in their deer and elk herds have documented long-term population declines and shifts in age structures leading to fewer bucks and mature bulls when the disease was largely not managed.

CWD was first found in Idaho deer in 2021 in the central part of the state near Whitebird, ID. To date, there have only been confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease in Idaho County.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no cases of CWD infection in humans have been reported. However, in the interest of safety, public health officials encourage people not to eat meat from animals that test positive for CWD, and hunters should follow the precautions and recommendations of health agencies.

For more information, visit Fish and Game Idaho’s CWD webpage or contact the regional salmon office at (208) 756-2271.

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