Idaho confirms CWD in 15 deer statewide

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The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has completed its 2022 chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing. Out of 3,171 tests conducted statewide, IDFG confirmed 15 positive cases of CWD – all within a six-mile radius of the Slate Creek drainage north of Riggins and east of U.S. 95, according to a press release.

This is the same area of Idaho where CWD was detected in fall of 2021.

“The presence of CWD in Idaho is unfortunate, but we were fortunate to detect it early, and extensive testing in areas adjacent to Slate Creek in 2022 showed no positive cases outside the immediate area,” said Rick Ward, IDFG State Wildlife Manager. “We will continue monitoring this area carefully, and we are planning more management actions in the Slate Creek area to reduce deer densities and attempt to prevent CWD from spreading.”

Back in 2021, IDFG established two CWD Management Zones in Hunting Units 14 and 15. Testing became mandatory and 1,291 samples were collected during the 2022 hunting seasons. Out of the 15 confirmed cases, 13 were hunter harvested – 10 whitetail deer and three mule deer – and two were whitetail deer already dead. 

Based upon the current percentage of positive CWD cases in Unit 14, IDFG believes the prevalence rate is 1.2% in mule deer and 3.3% in whitetail deer; 2.4% for both species combined, according to the agency. Yet, as a whole, prevalence rates could be as high as 10% within six miles of Slate Creek.

It is part of IDFG’s CWD management strategy to keep the prevalence rate below 2%.

“As far as we know, we’re the first state to detect CWD early enough to identify a focal point in such a relatively small, confined area,” said Ward. “By acting quickly, we have the opportunity to manage it on a small, localized scale.”

IDFG plans to use hunting and other methods to decrease deer numbers in and around the Slate Creek area; however, details are still pending. IDFG is currently working with local landowners.

“This is a difficult decision that we don’t take lightly, and we do it in consultation with hunters, landowners, outfitters and the general public,” said Ward. “We have to take action to prevent the spread of this disease that has affected long-term hunting opportunities in other states, and we don’t want that to happen in Idaho.”


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