On February 14, the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, along with the Caucus advisory council and the Idaho Sportsmen’s Alliance, hosted an informational briefing for legislators on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk and moose. Once contracted, the disease is always fatal.
Zach Widner, Northwest States Manager for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), provided an update on Congressional legislation relating to CWD. Widner provided historical background on CWD and noted that the bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act (H.R. 4454) was introduced in November 2017 by Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Congressman James Sensenbrenner (WI) as a means of providing states with additional resources to fight this disease and provide support for research.
Brian Brooks, Executive Director for the Idaho Wildlife Federation, discussed Senate Bill 2252, the Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act, a similar bill to H.R. 4454, which was introduced by Senator Jon Tester (MT) in December 2017.
Toby Boudreau, Wildlife Bureau Assistant Chief at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, updated attendees on Idaho’s state-level efforts to address CWD. Central to Boudreau’s discussion was the fact that Idaho Fish and Game is presently working on a comprehensive revision of its CWD response plan, which includes “updated background information on research and management on CWD, prevention, surveillance strategies for both pre and potentially post detection, potential management strategies for post detection, and communication strategies.”
While CWD has not yet been detected in Idaho, confirmed cases have been detected in Idaho’s neighboring states of Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, and the disease has continued to spread throughout the nation since its first detection in Colorado in 1967. For more information on this critical issue, read CSF’s issue brief on Chronic Wasting Disease.
CSF’s Zach Widner briefing Idaho state legislators and sportsmen’s partners on federal CWD legislation
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?