August 10, 2018

Idaho Furthers Protections Against Chronic Wasting Disease

By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager

On July 26, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted to ban the importation of elk, deer, and moose from chronic wasting disease (CWD) endemic states. The rule, which is takes effect immediately, also applies to the importation of such animals from other countries and Canadian provinces in which CWD has been detected.

While no cases of CWD have been confirmed in Idaho to date, its neighboring states of Utah, Montana, and Wyoming all have documented cases over the years (Montana most recently in 2017). Exceptions to the importation rule were made for cut and wrapped meat, finished taxidermy, and upper canine teeth, among other exceptions. The Commission also adopted rules, pending legislative approval, to integrate CWD risk strategy as a consideration and criteria into winter feeding decisions, and to restrict the public from winter feeding deer and elk in designated CWD management zones in the event that CWD is discovered in Idaho.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk and moose. Once contracted, the disease is always fatal. CWD has been detected within cervid populations in 25 states, and as such, many states have already passed regulations banning the transportation of carcasses taken in CWD-positive states.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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