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IDFG offering deer tags to collect samples to monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease

Mule Deer
Posted at 11:16 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 13:16:53-05

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) will offer over 1,500 deer tags, hoping to collect samples to monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

CWD is a fatal disease caused by a prion that affects the nervous system of deer, elk, reindeer and moose. Animals may not appear sick or show any symptoms early in the infection.

Last month, IDFG announced two mule deer in central Idaho tested positive for CWD. It's the first time the disease has been confirmed in Idaho. CWD is found in 27 states, including Wyoming and Montana.

The department is offering the tags first come, first served starting December 7 at 10 am at Fish and Game regional offices only. All hunts are scheduled to end on December 19 but could close earlier or be extended.

Related: IDFG Commission designates CWD Management Zones in Unit 14 and 15

If the targeted number of samples is reached before the end of the hunt, hunters will receive a notification that the hunt will close within 48 hours.

These hunts are intended to gather 775 CWD samples with strict requirements for those hunters who participate. The hunts are limited to Idaho residents and the tags will cost $10 each.

Tags will be divided between public and private lands and are exclusive to either of those. A large portion of the deer herds in the area are likely to be on private lands during the hunts.

All harvested deer taken must be tested for CWD with no exceptions. IDFG will take samples from deer heads at Lewiston and McCall regional offices and at designated check stations near the hunt locations.

Hunters are allowed to keep the meat and antlers of the deer they harvest. You can click here to read more details about each hunt available.

Hunters participating in CWD surveillance hunts are required to:

  • Only harvest the deer that you have a valid tag for; i.e. mule deer or white-tailed deer, antlerless-only or antlered only, and only in the hunt area in which your tag is valid. 
  • Harvest only an adult deer; no fawns may be harvested.
  • Hunters are required to quarter or debone a harvested animal at the kill site. 
  • Present the head of any harvested deer to a check station or regional office within 24 hours. Fish and Game will contact any hunter whose animal tests positive for CWD. 
  • Hunt only on public land and not hunt on private property if you have a tag for public land, and vice versa for private property hunts. 
  • Understand that the hunt may close before the closing date listed on the tag, and no rain checks or refunds will be given for tags that are not filled.
  • Record the GPS location where you harvest a deer. (A smartphone will work for this.)
  • Properly handle the carcass of harvested animals in accordance with Fish and Game directions, which will be provided when a tag is issued. 

Click here for more information about the hunts.