Despite fears of Chronic Wasting Disease, Fish and Game Officials say Mule Deer population is strong

Deer hunting season is scheduled to officially get underway on October 10th.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:39 PM MDT
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Deer hunting season is scheduled to officially get underway in southern Idaho on October 10th.

With that many people taking to the hills, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game want to remind hunters of a few key things before getting going.

After a few hard winters on the Idaho deer population, officials are seeing strong numbers this year.

The 2016 – 2017 Winter saw a massive mortality rate amongst the Mule Deer population and since that winter, those numbers have slowly started to bounce back.

But with those strong numbers, Fish and Game Officials want to remind hunters that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in the Gem State. While these cases were reported in North-Central Idaho, officials are working to make sure the disease hasn’t spread.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a contagious, neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. It causes a degeneration of the brain resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.

CWD is fatal; once an animal is infected there is no recovery or cure.

“Here in the Magic Valley, we’ll be doing surveillance and collecting samples from Mule Deer harvested in units in the southern part of the region that boarder Utah. Utah is a state that has tested positive for CWD,” said Mike McDonald, Idaho Fish and Game.

Officials with Fish and Game say that while no scientific link has been identified on the dangers of consuming meat tainted with CWD.

They do say, if your animal does test positive, its probably best not to consume that animal.

“If folks harvest an animal and they want to have it tested, they can bring it here to the regional office. We’re open 8 to 5, Monday through Friday,” said McDonald. “We also have a freezer where you can deposit a head, we need the head so we can have access to either the spinal tissue or the lymph nodes.”

To learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease, and all of the latest information from Idaho Fish and Game regarding this this year’s deer season... Click Here.