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Fish and Game officials asking hunters to help test for, combat Chronic Wasting Disease

Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 23, 2022

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was spotted in Idaho for the first time back in 2021. Now Idaho fish and Game (IDFG) is asking hunters in the Magic Valley region to test their harvest.

CWD is a Prion disease that affects deer elk and moose species. There currently is no cure or vaccine and this contagious disease has a 100% fatality rate once the animal is infected.

Testing is done by removing the lymph nodes, or opex, from a dead animal and results take about six weeks. There have been no cases of humans tracking the disease but the CDC recommends not eating meat that is tainted by CWD.

“We do rely a lot on our hunting community to try to get us samples so we can test those,” said Miranda Reinson, regional wildlife biologist with IDFG.

Hunting unfortunately is negatively impacted due to the appearance of this disease in Idaho, making areas like the Gem State less attractive to hunters traveling here to practice the recreation.

“The revelation that CWD is already in Idaho was pretty tough. You know, we have been waiting for that unfortunately I think to happen but it’s still sort of the reality of it. Yeah, it’s bad news,” said Ford Van Fossan, director for brand at First Lite Performance Hunting Apparel.

RELATED: Chronic Wasting Disease found in two Idaho mule deer

Van Fossan was concerned after seeing the disease show up in bordering states and knew the impact it would have once it came to Idaho.

“It’s already decreasing I would say hunter enthusiasm or sort of the ease with which hunters can hunt given areas that have CWD in them already,” he said.

Testing is the only way IDFG is able to combat CWD by locating areas where the disease has affected an environment. This allows IDFG to study the area and animals around and slow the spread of this disease.

"We do vigorous testing to be able to have that detection first and then try to combat that disease within the area,” she said.

Beginning October 1, deer heads can be dropped off at the IDFG Magic Valley Regional office in Jerome and other locations for testing. For more information on drop off sites and CWD testing, click here. For information for the CDC on CWD, click here.