Through Feb. 27, 251 deer and one elk were killed and tested with 99 test results back
Idaho Fish and Game staff reported that through Feb. 27, 251 deer and one elk have been killed and removed from the Slate Creek drainage in an effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. All deer and elk taken are tested for CWD, and out of the 99 test results so far, 14 deer tested positive, which suggests about 15 percent of the deer in the area are infected with the fatal disease.
CWD was found for the first time in Idaho in the Slate Creek area in 2021.
“Although it is tough to see CWD prevalence this high in the area, it validates the importance of this ongoing project to lower deer densities in Slate Creek and reduce the spread of the disease,” says J.J. Teare, Clearwater regional supervisor. “We expect to have more sample results back from the lab within the next week or so.”
Animals taken are skinned and processed by F&G staff until CWD test results are back, and meat from animals that test negative will be donated to a food bank.
Fish and Game provided special permits to landowners to kill deer on their property. Experienced U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services staff is also assisting Fish and Game personnel in killing and removing deer on adjacent public land.
Methods used for this operation include baiting and shooting animals at night. There is not a public hunting opportunity for this project due to limited access because most animals are on or near private land.
This project would not be possible without the cooperation of several area landowners, and a partnership between Fish and Game staff and Wildlife Services.
As deer are removed and transported to the processing station, personnel take a CWD sample, which can only be taken from dead animals.
Crews then skin and quarter carcasses and meat is hung to cool. Meat from each animal gets carefully bagged, labeled and transferred to a meat processing facility for storage until CWD results come back. Meat from animals that test negative will be donated to a food bank.
Staff processes a quarter before bagging and hanging in a cooler. Meat from each animal is carefully handled, bagged and labeled so it can be identified after CWD test results come back.
Fish and Game intends to continue this project through March depending on how effective it is in removing deer from the Slate Creek area.
For more information about this project, contact the Clearwater Regional office at (208) 799-5010.
Inedible deer remains, such as heads and spinal columns, take from the area will be transported and dumped in a special waste facility in Montana.