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CWD In Montana

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) advised hunters a deer killed in southeastern Montana is suspected to be positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). According to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, CWD is “a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose” that causes “degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.”

The deer in question was killed in hunt district 510 south of Billings. “We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, MTFWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this.” Previously, the closest confirmed CWD case had occurred in Wyoming, less than 50 miles southeast of the kill site in this case.

Because CWD detection requires brain samples from dead animals, MTFWP plans to hold a special hunt after the close of the general season to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution.

MTFWP lead disease technician Zach Mills told NBC Montana how MTFWP is working to create, “A buffer zone around where that disease was or where that infected animal was identified.” He emphasized, “If it’s something we leave unmanaged, it’s possible maybe in my lifetime, or my kid’s lifetime, or my grandchild’s lifetime, that our herds could be really struggling if we don’t get our hands around this disease collectively.”

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who harvest animals from a known CWD-infected area have it tested before consumption.

MTFWP is encouraging all hunters in districts 502 and 510 to have their harvest sampled at the Laurel check station or the regional office in Billings. The office’s phone is 406-247-2940.

About Schuyler Watt

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Schuyler was born and raised in Montana. He writes the ID and MT Member's Research Articles. He is currently a law student, but gets out with his bow as much as he can.

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  1. First we have to deal with their horrible driver’s, now with CWD? Thanks Wyoming.

  2. CWD has been in Colorado since the 60’s. So all the deer in Colorado must be dead now? Saskatchewan has had it for 20+ years and finally gave up trying to even control it’s spread, and they still have some of the best mule deer hunting in North America. Alberta has had it for 10+ years and has spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate it with helicopter killing. Now they just monitor it as it spreads. Montana thinks they can control it?! Hilarious and sad. Texas says it will never be found there because they won’t test for it. Thank God for Texans!

  3. All killing 1000 deer does….is kill 1000 deer. Another infected deer will move up from Wyoming next year and it starts all over again. 510 has been hit hard by unlimited tags, out of control predators and poaching. I realize MT FWP has to throw a bone to the public and to the eyes that are watching this, but this accomplishes absolutely nothing. Typical Montana….it’s not about the wildlife, it’s all about revenue generated from the additional tags to support their top heavy FWP.

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