Idaho’s CWD hunts prove popular
Thu., Dec. 9, 2021
LEWISTON – Idaho hunters showed themselves eager to help the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gather chronic wasting disease samples.
About 180 people were in line at the Idaho Fish and Game office in Lewiston on Tuesday when more than 500 public land deer tags went on sale at 9 a.m. Dozens were waiting at the M.K. Nature Center in Boise and at a regional office in Nampa. Even the Idaho Falls office, about as far in Idaho as you can get from the hunts designed to facilitate the collection of lymph node samples, had a modest line.
Those waiting snatched up all of the available mule deer and whitetail buck tags for public land hunts within 7 minutes. By the end of the day, almost all of the 538 available tags had sold. Only a handful connected to an archery-only doe hunt in Unit 15 went untaken on the first day of availability.
“It went really well,” said J.J. Teare, supervisor of the Clearwater Region at Lewiston. “It was orderly and people were nice.”
Chronic wasting disease was documented in Idaho for the first time this fall.
Lymph nodes taken from two mule deer bucks killed in Unit 14 tested positive for the fatal neurological disorder.
The tags that went on sale Tuesday are part of an effort by the department to measure the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease. Agency officials planned dozens of surveillance hunts on both public and private land in and around Unit 14 that stretches from Cottonwood to Riggins. They plan on offering more than 1,500 deer tags to Idaho residents and hope to collect nearly 800 samples.
More than 850 tags for hunts on private land are expected to sell at a slower pace. They are available at Fish and Game regional offices, but purchase is limited to qualified land owners in the hunt areas or by hunters that have been designated by qualified landowners. More information is available at bit.ly/3DvFazf.
Chronic wasting disease has been found in 27 states and four Canadian provinces. Caused by a misfolded protein known as a prion, it is in the same family as mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and carries potential health concerns for people who eat the meat of infected deer, elk and moose. It has never been documented to infect humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people not eat meat from animals with the disease. Prions accumulate in certain tissues like the eyes, brains, spinal cords and lymph nodes.
Fish and Game officials are also collecting samples from road-killed deer and elk.
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