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Fish and Game confirms chronic wasting disease in two more Idaho deer

by NICOLE BLANCHARD
| January 7, 2022 7:00 AM

The Idaho Statesman (TNS)

Two more Idaho deer have been confirmed to have chronic wasting disease, a contagious, fatal neurological disease that was first detected in the state last month.

In a news release, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said two white-tailed deer bucks tested positive for chronic wasting disease, which is caused by malformed proteins called prions. The deer came from the Slate Creek area near Riggins, the same area as two mule deer bucks who tested positive for the disease in mid-November after they were harvested by hunters.

Fish and Game spokesperson Roger Phillips told the Idaho Statesman that one of the white-tailed deer was killed during a regular season hunt, while the other was found dead on private property and reported to the agency.

After the mule deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease, Fish and Game created a management zone that includes hunting Unit 14, where the deer were harvested, and neighboring Unit 15. The agency also established a surveillance area in both hunting units and portions of four nearby units.

Fish and Game also issued 1,500 tags for surveillance hunts within the surveillance area, meant to give agency officials an idea of how widespread the disease is and how prevalent it is in the area's deer populations. The surveillance hunts began in early December.

According to the agency's news release, it has taken 448 samples in the surveillance area that have tested negative. Results from 72 other deer are still pending.

Fish and Game is urging hunters to use caution when processing deer or elk and avoid eating any part of an animal that is confirmed to have chronic wasting disease.