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F&G will resume project starting Feb. 5 to reduce deer densities in the Slate Creek area and minimize CWD spread

Starting Feb. 5, Fish and Game staff will resume a control action to reduce deer density in Slate Creek and adjacent areas as a continued attempt to minimize the spread of chronic wasting disease. The project is expected to last up to 4 weeks. 

This is the second year of control actions in and around the Slate Creek area in Game Management Unit 14 north of Riggins, which is where CWD was first detected in the fall of 2021. CWD is a contagious and always fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. There is no cure, vaccination, or effective CWD test for live, wild animals.

“While one CWD case was found outside of Unit 14, we believe spread of the disease could have been worse had the management action not been done in Unit 14 last winter,” said J.J. Teare, Clearwater Region Supervisor. “So, we will repeat it this winter.”

CWD is long lived in the environment, and it can be contracted by animals foraging in an area with CWD in the soil. If left unchecked, the disease poses a long-term risk to the quantity and qualtiy of deer and elk herds and hunting opportunities. 

Fish and Game staff will use methods during the control action not typically used for hunting, including baiting and shooting at night. Because most deer are expected to be on private land, special permits will also be issued to landowners to remove deer from their property. Fish and Game will only remove animals on private lands where the department has permission to do so.  

All animals taken during the control action will be tested for CWD. Animals that test negative will be processed and the meat donated to local families in need and food banks. 

All CWD-infected carcass parts, including heads and spinal column, will be collected and transported by Fish and Game to be disposed of in an approved landfill.

CWD testing over the past 3 years indicates that Fish and Game’s management efforts are working to reduce the CWD prevalence rate and potential of spread in and outside of Unit 14. 

In fall 2021 and winter 2022, Fish and Game biologists sampled 265 animals from Unit 14 and detected six positives. With increased CWD management and surveillance efforts in 2022-23, biologists sampled 1,297 animals from Unit 14 and detected 43 positives. Of those 43, 13 were from hunter-harvested deer and 27 were taken during the previous Slate Creek control action. 

Since summer 2023, Fish and Game has sampled 744 animals (mainly through hunter harvest) and detected seven positive CWD cases in Unit 14

Fish and Game asks that people report any sick or dead deer by calling Fish and Game’s Clearwater regional office at (208) 799-5010.