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F&G Southwest Region staff offering free courses to teach hunters how to collect their own CWD samples

During September, wildlife staff in Idaho Fish and Game’s Southwest and Clearwater Regions will be offering free courses to teach hunters how to collect lymph node samples from the animals they harvest to have them sampled for chronic wasting disease.

The courses are intended primarily for deer, elk and moose hunters within Fish and Game’s CWD Management Zone — which currently consists of Units 14 and 15 — where hunters are mandated to have their animals tested for CWD, and for those hunting in units outside of the CWD Management Zone where Fish and Game is monitoring for the disease this year. However, the course is open to all interested hunters.

“Our goal for these courses is to provide hunters with the knowledge required to collect lymph nodes for CWD sampling on their own, increasing Fish and Game’s capacity for collecting usable samples,” said Southwest Regional Wildlife Manager Ryan Walrath. “And while much can be learned from a video or written instructions, there is really no substitute for hands-on instruction for something like this.”

Below is a list of available CWD Sampling Clinic dates, times, and locations. People who are interested in attending should sign up in advance by following the links for each event:

2022 CWD Sampling Clinics:

More about CWD Sampling

All hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in a CWD Management Zone (Units 14 and 15) are required to have their animals tested for CWD. Hunters who harvest deer in other units where Fish and Game is monitoring for CWD are encouraged to submit samples to assist Fish and Game’s efforts to monitor for the disease, but are not required to do so.

Hunters have a couple of options when it comes to submitting CWD samples. Hunters may request a CWD test sampling kit if they want to extract the lymph nodes themselves and have them tested. Fish and Game will provide the kit and testing is free. Hunters should allow at least a week for delivery of the sample kit. Hunters can request a test kit and pick it up at a Fish and Game regional office.

Hunters may also bring heads to staffed and non-staffed (e.g., head barrel or freezer) drop-off site locations throughout the state, allowing Fish and Game staff to collect the lymph nodes or brainstem tissue. Hunters should leave around 4 to 6 inches of neck attached to the head to ensure the lymph nodes required for testing are present.

Fish and Game reminds hunters in Units 14 and 15 specifically that carcasses or any part of a deer, elk or moose originating in a designated Idaho CWD Management Zone may not be transported out of the Zone or possessed in any portion of the state not designated a CWD Management Zone, with the following exceptions:

  • Heads that are being transported to a CWD sample drop-off location
  • Domestic cervids regulated under Chapter 37, Title 25, Idaho Code
  • Meat that is cut and wrapped
  • Quarters or deboned meat that does not include brain or spinal tissue
  • Edible organs that do not include brains
  • Hides without heads
  • Upper canine teeth (ivories)
  • Finished taxidermy
  • Dried antlers
  • Cleaned and dried skulls or skull caps
  • Skull caps that do not include brain or spinal tissue