Friday meeting to focus on chronic wasting disease

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(Photo courtesy WYOMING GAME & FISH DEPT) Idaho Fish & Game officials are meeting with Bonner County commissioners to discuss chronic wasting disease, which has been detected in Libby, Mont.

SANDPOINT — Idaho Department of Fish & Game officials are meeting with Bonner County commissioners on Friday to discuss chronic wasting disease, a deadly malady that affects elk, deer and moose.

Chronic wasting disease has not been detected in Idaho, according to Idaho Fish & Game. However, it is present in the bordering states of Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

The board is meeting with Fish & Game Panhandle Region Supervisor Chip Corsi and regional Wildlife Manager Micah Ellstrom at 10 a.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building.

Chronic wasting disease is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system in mammals of the deer family. There is no known transmission of the disease to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock.

The disease, however, alarmingly showed up in Libby in June, making it the first time it was detected in the wild west of the Continental Divide, according to the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks. Since the detection, a total of six deer in Libby have turned up with the disease, the diagnosis of which was confirmed via lab testing.

Montana wildlife officials are conducting a special hunt in the Libby Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone. The department is selling 600 antlerless white-tailed licenses which can only be used in the Libby management zone in northwestern Lincoln County.

Idaho Fish & Game has a monitoring program for the disease and has implemented a series of rules to reduce the risk of spreading to Idaho.

Idaho bans the use of natural deer family urine for big game hunting, which includes urine from deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou.

The state also bans importing a carcass or any part of a wild deer, elk or moose from another state, province in Canada or any other country with a documented case of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where the disease is known to be present have their animal tested for the disease prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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