Monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease

Instead of a statewide effort, biologists will concentrate sampling to certain hunting units each year.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been detected in Idaho. 

For more than two decades wildlife biologists have gathered samples from mule deer brought into the hunter check stations across the state. Fish and Game is changing some of the ways deer samples are collected and are asking hunters to help with monitoring for CWD.

What You Can Do

  • Instead of a statewide effort, biologists will concentrate sampling to certain hunting units each year.
  • The units sampled will rotate every year. Click here for this year’s game management units.
  • If you harvested a mule deer in one of this year’s units being sample and did not go through a check station, Fish and Game is asking hunters to voluntarily bring in their mule deer heads to a regional office during normal business hours. Please leave the upper portion of the neck attached to the head so that staff can remove the lymph nodes from the throat. Only adults and yearlings, no fawns.
  • Individuals who salvage road killed mule deer in the sample areas are asked to voluntarily bring in the head and upper neck to a regional office for lymph node removal.

Video: What is chronic wasting disease?

CWD was first documented among captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967, and has been detected in 22 states and two Canadian provinces.  But what is it?

Video: How is chronic wasting disease spread?

The short answer is that scientists are not sure. But biologists believe it is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva.

Video: What is the cure for chronic wasting disease?

There is no cure. The animal will die of the disease, although often an animal dies of starvation or pneumonia triggered by CWD.

Video: Is chronic wasting disease in Idaho?

It has not been detected in Idaho, but prevalence of CWD has been expanding in some neighboring states.

Video: What is Idaho Fish and Game doing about the threat of chronic wasting disease?

Idaho Fish and Game is in the process of updating its CWD action plan and hunters will play a critical role.

Video: Why is Fish and Game asking to test my animal at check stations?

CWD shows up first in the lymph nodes of deer. Catching the disease early will allow Idaho Fish and Game to take management action.


Annual CWD surveillance has occurred in Idaho at hunter check stations since 1997, with 15,900 cervids (mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose) sampled from around the state.

No CWD detections have occurred to date.