Chronic wasting disease was detected for the first time in Idaho in 2021 after more than 20 years of proactive surveillance and testing. Chronic wasting disease is a contagious and fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose, and there is no cure.
With most hunting seasons already underway and many more to begin in the weeks and months ahead, Idaho Fish and Game is reminding hunters that your help is needed for ongoing monitoring of chronic wasting disease in Idaho.
How you can get involved in the Panhandle
Fish and Game staff will be collecting samples from deer, elk and moose at hunter check stations around the Panhandle in the weeks ahead as part of an ongoing statewide surveillance program for CWD.
Check stations will be operated Oct. 15-16 from 10 a.m. to near sunset. Check stations will be located near Enaville on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and east of St. Maries. Additional check stations will be operated around the region in mid-Nov. Times and locations of those will be announced as those dates get closer.
Fish and Game is also encouraging hunters in the Panhandle to collect and submit their own CWD samples or whole deer heads. Samples or heads can be placed into several freezers located across the region. Each freezer has instructions attached to it and information tags to be filled out for each head or sample. Please keep all samples cool or frozen until transferred to a freezer.
CWD sample kits can be requested directly from Fish and Game by contacting your nearest Fish and Game Regional Office or by filling out the request form at https://idfg.idaho.gov/cwd/sampling-kit-request. Panhandle freezers are located at:
- Bonners Ferry: Far North Outfitters, 6791 S Main Street
- Sagle: WaterLife Discovery Center, 1591 Lakeshore Drive
- Plummer: Heyburn State Park, 57 Chatcolet Road
- Kingston: Kwikstop Gas Station, 123 Stemm Loop
Hunters can also bring samples or deer, elk and moose heads into the Panhandle Regional Office at 2885 W Kathleen Avenue, Coeur d’Alene from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more information on sampling locations across the state or to learn how to collect your own sample, use the links below.
- CWD Sampling Locations
- Learn how to collect a sample for CWD testing
- CWD sample collection, with pictures
- Fish and Game CWD sampling video
Testing for CWD takes approximately four to six weeks after samples are submitted. For animals sampled at check stations or the regional office, hunters will be given a business card with a unique barcode number on it. This number can be entered into the Fish and Game sample results website where status updates and final testing results will be posted. Hunters who submit samples at freezer locations throughout the region will only be contacted if a sample is positive.
Can you eat the meat? What does a CWD infected animal look like? Other questions? Check out the links below.
Hunting out of state and wondering what you need to know and what the law says?
Idaho passed a law in 2018 making it illegal to bring any portion of spine, brain and other nervous system tissues of a wild elk, deer, moose or caribou into Idaho from CWD-positive states or provinces in Canada.
Violation of current CWD rules is a misdemeanor. Warnings can be issued at the officer’s discretion, but those cited can incur the following penalties:
- A fine between $25 and $1000
- Up to 3-year suspension of hunting and/or fishing and/or trapping license(s)
- Up to 6 months in jail.
For more: Chronic Wasting Disease: The Rules
More on CWD in Idaho
Although CWD has not been detected in the Panhandle, CWD-positive deer and elk were detected in Unit 14 in 2021, which is located south of Grangeville in northern Idaho.
Units 14 and 15 are now grouped into a designated CWD Management Zone, which means all hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in the zone are required to have their animals tested for CWD by depositing the head (antlers may be removed) at a designated drop off site.
Carcasses or any part of a deer, elk or moose harvested in Units 14 or 15 may not be transported out of those units except quarters or deboned meat that does not include brain or spinal tissue, and edible organs that do not include brains.
Libby, Montana, which is a short 22-mile jaunt east of the Idaho Panhandle border, has confirmed white-tailed deer, moose and mule deer with CWD in recent years.
For more information regarding CWD sampling in the Panhandle, please contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414.
You can also follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page to get regular news and updates.