Title: Idaho Department of Fish and Game Reports First Case of Chronic Wasting Disease in Fall Hunting Season
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has recently confirmed the first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer near New Meadows. This discovery comes approximately seven miles south of the initial detection area in 2021, marking a concerning development for the fall hunting season.
Chronic wasting disease is a highly contagious illness that primarily affects deer, elk, and moose. Disturbingly, there is currently no known cure, live test, or vaccine available to prevent its spread. Consequently, IDFG is urging hunters in the region between New Meadows and Council to have their animals tested for the disease.
As part of their efforts to curb the disease’s further prevalence and understand its spread, IDFG is heavily reliant on hunters’ cooperation. To this end, hunters are encouraged to take the heads of harvested deer and elk to any regional fish and game office for sampling. These samples will play a pivotal role in deducing the prevalence and potential containment measures required.
Symptoms of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk include excessive drooling, drooping head or ears, tremors, low body weight, and abnormal behavior. As such, wildlife officials are urging the public to report any deer or elk killed along Highway 95, spanning from Riggins to Weiser, as well as any visibly sick-looking deer to specific regional offices.
The situation near New Meadows presents a unique challenge due to the migratory nature of the animals in the area. This mobility complicates efforts to curtail the spread of the disease effectively. IDFG recognizes this obstacle and is working diligently to outline strategies during a meeting scheduled for November 14th and 15th in Lewiston.
It is imperative for stakeholders, including hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and IDFG, to remain committed to collaborative efforts that facilitate disease monitoring, testing, and appropriate management to mitigate the impact on the local wildlife population.