The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on November 22 authorized the Director of Fish and Game to establish emergency hunts for increased sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease. The goal of the emergency hunts is to get a valid number of samples to determine how widespread the disease may be in the area. The hunts will be for Idaho residents only, and tags may be discounted.
The Commission also designated Game Management Units 14 and 15 as a CWD Management Zone.
Two mule deer bucks taken by hunters in Unit 14 during October tested positive for CWD, which were Idaho’s first known cases of CWD. Fish and Game continues to collect CWD samples from deer and elk taken by hunters in Unit 14 and surrounding units.
Emergency hunts would focus only on mule deer and whitetail deer because they are more susceptible to CWD, and hunters will be required to have harvested animals tested.
“We will only take additional animals up to the numbers we need for sampling,” Fish and Game director Ed Schriever said. “We’re going to take the minimum number that is needed to be able to make good decisions.”
After sampling, Fish and Game will have a better idea of how widespread CWD is, and what percentage of the deer population is infected.
“This information will be used to make informed management decisions going forward,” Schriever said. “What we do in response will be presented to the Commissioners for their decision for future management.”
Fish and Game will later announce the framework for emergency hunts, including dates, how hunters can get tags, and special rules that will apply to those hunts.
Although new to Idaho, CWD is found in 27 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. It was detected in neighboring states Wyoming in the mid 1980s and was first detected in Montana 2017. Learn more about CWD in Idaho at https://idfg.idaho.gov/cwd.