Fish and game, Magic Valley region gears up for enhanced chronic wasting disease testing


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 detection and as part of Fish and Game’s annual monitoring program, Magic Valley biologists will focus their mule deer and elk sampling efforts on hunting units bordering the state of Utah. Idaho is bordered to the north, east and south by Montana, Wyoming and Utah, all of which have tested positive for chronic wasting disease for several years.

Who should have their deer and elk tested

Fish and Game does not recommend that all hunters who harvest a deer, elk, or moose in Idaho have them tested for CWD. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), no cases of chronic wasting disease have been reported. However, the CDC recommends people not eat meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.

In the Magic Valley area, deer and elk hunters hunting in Units 54, 55, 56, and 57 are encouraged to have their harvested animals tested for chronic wasting disease.

Deer and elk testing

Testing for CWD is done after harvest by removing lymph nodes from the neck of deer or elk, or by removing the obex, which is the tissue at the base of the brain. It can take up to six weeks to get test results, and test results can be found online.

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. Allow at least one week for sample kit delivery. Hunters can also obtain a sampling kit from a regional fish and game office.

Instructions for removing lymph nodes can be found on the Fish and Game website or by watch an explanatory video.

Tests cannot be performed on the meat of the slaughtered animal.

Deer heads can also be brought to the Magic Valley regional office in Jerome for testing. Additionally, head or lymph node samples can be dropped off in large chest freezers for testing at the Magic Valley office as well as four locations around Magic Valley. The locations of these freezers are the Rock Creek General Store south of Hansen, Rogerson Service in Rogerson, Farmers Market in Oakley and the Malta Fuel Depot in Malta. Freezers are available for deposits 24 hours a day.

Five freeze locations around the Magic Valley area are available for hunters to drop samples of CWD or deer heads, 24/7.

First detections of chronic wasting disease in Idaho

CWD-positive deer and elk were detected in Units 14 and 15 in 2021, both located south of Grangeville in northern Idaho. These two units are now grouped together in a designated CWD management area, which means that all hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in this area must have their animals tested for CWD by dropping the head (the wood can be removed) at a designated location. deposit site.

Carcasses or any part of a deer, elk or moose harvested in units 14 or 15 cannot be transported out of these units, with the exception of quarters or boneless meat which does not include not brains or spinal tissue, and edible organs that do not include brains. To see other exceptions, visit the CWD rules webpage.

For more information, contact the Magic Valley regional office at (208) 324-4359.

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