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Fish and Game wants more samples from hunters after finding CWD in new area

A fish and game employee is taking a sample from a deer on a table for chronic wasting disease.
Roger Phillips
Idaho Fish And Game
Fish and Game staff take samples from deer for chronic wasting disease testing. 

Idaho wildlife officials are trying to halt the spread of chronic wasting disease after an infected deer was hunted in a new area.

The contagious, fatal disease affects moose, elk and deer, and there is no known cure. It was first detected in Idaho two years ago. Since then, all cases were found in one hunting unit near Riggins.

That was until this month. A mule deer hunted near New Meadows tested positive.

Tricia Hebdon is a wildlife biologist with Idaho Fish and Game. She told commissioners Thursday that the deer was in its summer range. The problem is, the other animals have probably moved by now.

"We know that the animals are no longer on that summer range where this animal was harvested in October, and they're now on three different winter ranges," she said.

That makes finding other positive deer through surveillance testing difficult. Still, Fish and Game wants more samples from this area, particularly in units 22, 23, 24, 32 and 32A . It's also going to pick up more roadkill along highways 55 and 95, and it's sending sample kits to hunters with tags in the area.

Hunters in units 14 and 15 near Riggins are required to have harvested animals tested.

In total, 52 animals, mostly white tailed deer, have been found positive with CWD in Idaho, but the state expects to get more lab results back soon.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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