Idaho Fish and Game staff will be collecting samples from deer at hunter check stations across the Panhandle over two weekends in November as part of a statewide surveillance program for chronic wasting disease.
Check stations will be operated November 16, 17, 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to sunset. Check stations will be located at:
- Priest River: along State Highway 57
- Samuels: along US Highway 95
- St. Maries: south on State Highway 3
Chronic wasting disease is a contagious, fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. Samples are collected on a voluntary basis by removing lymph nodes from deer, located near the base of the jaw.
Fish and Game also has freezers at two locations in the region to collect heads from hunters who wish to have their deer sampled. Each freezer has instructions attached to it and information tags are to be filled out for each head. All heads should be kept cool or frozen until transferred to a freezer. Freezers are located at:
- Bonners Ferry: Far North Outfitters, 6791 S Main Street
- Sagle: WaterLife Discovery Center, 1591 Lakeshore Drive
Hunters can also bring deer into the Regional Office at 2885 W Kathleen Avenue, Coeur d’Alene from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday to have samples taken.
Testing will take approximately four to six weeks after samples are submitted. For deer 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 then be entered into the website idfg.idaho.gov/cwd/lookup, where status updates and final testing results will be posted. Hunters that submit heads in freezers will only be contacted if a sample is positive.
Fish and Game began testing for CWD in 1997 and has never detected the disease in Idaho. Neighboring states Montana, Utah and Wyoming have confirmed CWD-positive animals close to the Idaho border. In the summer of 2019, several white-tailed deer sampled in Libby, Montana tested positive for CWD.
Nearly 100 samples were collected in the Panhandle from August to November 2019 thanks in part to interested hunters supporting these monitoring efforts.
For more information regarding CWD sampling in the Panhandle, please contact the Regional Office at (208) 769-1414 or visit the website idfg.idaho.gov/cwd.