CWD Western States Update

By FarWide December 27, 2021
Map of CWD in North America

CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) has been an ongoing battle for wildlife resources. Now with two positive cases in Idaho, fear of the disease creeping west is all too real.

CWD had been detected in WMU 14 and 15 in Idaho. These Wildlife Management Units have been designated as CWD management zones. IDFG has since held an organized emergency CWD surveillance hunt to indicate how widespread the disease might be in Idaho. The two deer that tested positive first for CWD were located in a WMU just 30 miles from the snake river and border of Oregon.

Map of Idaho WMU

Oregon has been testing for CWD for the past 20+ years. In that time no animals in Oregon have tested positive according to the ODFW website. But with the recent discovery of CWD in Idaho, testing for the disease will be increased. Barrels will be placed around to make it easier to submit a head for sampling.

“Beginning in 2022, it will be mandatory for anyone transporting wildlife carcasses or parts to spot at a check station if they encounter one, and allow their animal to be tested.” As stated on the ODFW website.

CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease)

Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects the North American cervid family. This includes deer, elk, and moose. The disease is caused by a specific protein that damages the animal’s brain eventually leading to death. Although there is no evidence that people can contract the disease, it is not recommended to eat the meat of the infected animal.


Animals can take months or even years to show symptoms. Here are the symptoms to look for off the ODFW website.

  • Staggering or standing with very poor posture or an exaggerated wide posture (legs in very wide stance)
  • Carrying head and ears lowered
  • Emaciated body condition (thus the term ‘wasting’ disease)
  • Consuming large amounts of water and staying near water
  • Drooling or excessive salivation

According to ODFW, “hunters should not shoot a deer or elk that appears sick. If you find evidence of disease after you have shot it, ODFW veterinarians recommend that you’d do not eat the meat and call your local ODFW biologist”.


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