Hunters at check stations provide samples to test for chronic wasting disease

At check stations across the state, Idaho Fish and Game staff are collecting lymph nodes from harvested deer, elk, and moose to increase monitoring efforts for chronic wasting disease, a disease that has not been detected in Idaho. 

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a contagious and fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk, moose, and caribou. Detection of the disease has been inching closer to home as states like Montana, Wyoming, and Utah have all reported positive cases. Fish and Game has increased sampling efforts in game management units closest to those states and relies on hunters throughout Idaho to provide this critical data as a proactive measure for early detection.

Thanks to hunter participation at check stations and leaving samples at our drop-off locations, we are able to increase the number of animals tested for CWD.

Idaho Fish and Game check station workers collect a lymph node sample for CWD testing

 

Check stations will continue throughout the hunting season. Here’s what you can expect at a check station for CWD sampling.

CWD sampling at a check station

The collection process goes quickly and does not take a lot of the hunter’s time at the check station.

  • Whether a check station is part of your destination route or not, it’s always good to have your animal readily available. Check station staff want to get you back on the road as soon as possible, so having your animal where we can easily get to it will make your time at the check station go quicker.
  • Staff will first ask you for permission before cutting into your animal.
  • A wildlife biologist will look at your animal to see if sample collection is possible and inspect the animal’s teeth for aging. We do not collect samples from fawns.
  • The biologist will then cut across the animal’s neck under the jawbone and retrieve the lymph nodes.
  • The lymph nodes will be placed in a bag and labeled with your name, tag number, species, animal age, and harvest location. 
  • You will be given a card or a barcode number so you can check test results at home on our website. Results are usually posted in four to six weeks.
A check station staff member looks at an obex sample taken from an elk for CWD sampling
A check station worker leans into the bed of a truck to check an animal while another worker documents information on a clipboard

Collect a CWD sample on your own

If a check station was not part of your destination route, you can still have your deer, elk, or moose tested for CWD by submitting a sample yourself. 

We would like to thank all of the hunters who have already submitted samples at check stations or at a drop-off location. The valuable data you provide helps us proactively monitor for CWD.

Learn how Idaho Fish and Game is monitoring for CWD and how you can help at https://idfg.idaho.gov/cwd.

A box of lymph node samples for CWD testing

Idaho Fish and Game check station workers collect a lymph node sample for CWD testing
Creative Commons Licence
Sara Cassinelli/Idaho Fish and Game