Idaho Fish and Game reported its first two Chronic Wasting Disease positive cases in Idaho last week.
Two mule deer bucks that were harvested last month in the Slate Creek drainage area in Idaho County came back positive for the disease. Both hunters were notified.
The IDFG reported in a news release that though CWD has existed in the United States for decades, these are the first known positive cases recorded in Idaho.
CWD is a contagious, always-fatal, neurological disease that affects deer, elk, moose and caribou. Fish and Game has been testing animals for the disease since the late 90s.
Animals who have contracted CWD will be excessively salivating, have a drooping head/ears, tremors, low body weight and other unusual behavior such as showing no fear of humans or lack of coordination.
IDFG’s Regional Communications Manager for the Panhandle Region, T.J. Ross, reported regions all around Idaho are encouraging hunters to be aware of the disease and to have their kills tested.
“At this point we have been taking this seriously because early detection is important,” Ross said. “As of now we are assessing our next steps forward.”
IDFG has set up checkpoints on the weekends around north Idaho for hunters to have samples taken of their kills. One checkpoint has been open on the weekends at the weigh station right outside of St. Maries on State 3.
Two others stations have been set up around Bonners Ferry and Priest River.
“We’ve have made an effort to make testing readily available to hunters,” he said. “We encourage people to stop by and get their animal tested.”
“If it ends up coming back positive we’ll notify you and you won’t hear anything from us if it came back negative,” Ross added.
Animals can also be brought to the regional IDFG office in Coeur d’Alene.
“We are trying to give people a lot of options,” he said.
Ross said hunters who receive a positive result on their kills should not eat the meat. Those with a contaminated animal will need to coordinate with IDFG on how to dispose of it.
Those who see an animal that may look like it has contracted CWD should take pictures and report GPS coordinates of the location if possible to the IDFG.
For more information call the IDFG Panhandle Region offices at 208-769-1414.