If you’ve been following the CWD testing, here is the latest from last week straight from MT FWP:
Chronic wasting disease test results from samples collected last week all came back negative, announced, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Wednesday. This news comes after positive tests in two successive weeks.
“During this surveillance period, we’re remaining vigilant and hunters are coming through for us in a big way,” said Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor and CWD incident command team lead. “Since our positive test, we’ve had a good uptick in the number of samples being submitted for testing. This is going a long way to helping us determine where the disease may be.”
Two mule deer bucks tested positive for CWD in the past three weeks. One buck was killed in late October, 10 miles southeast of Bridger, the other was killed in early November, 3 miles south of Belfry. FWP formed an incident command team immediately to respond to the discoveries and that group is working with other state agencies, local jurisdictions, Crow Nation, hunters and landowners to implement FWP’s CWD response plan.
Two public meetings are schedule for Nov. 29 – the Bridger Civic Center at 5 p.m. and the Mountain View Elementary School in Red Lodge at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will give the public a chance to learn about CWD and ask FWP questions about CWD and the response plan.
FWP is currently operating a surveillance effort in south central Montana – the area where CWD was first discovered in Montana this fall. This effort has entailed collecting samples from deer, elk and moose at check stations within the priority surveillance area. These samples are sent to a lab at Colorado State University and results are posted online weekly at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.
Following the discovery of CWD in the area, FWP has seen a significant increase in the number of samples submitted by hunters at both the check stations and at regional offices. For week 4 of surveillance, 192 samples were submitted for testing. However, for week 5, last week, that number rose to 351.
“We understand hunters are concerned about CWD and we’re encouraging all successful deer, elk and moose hunters in our priority surveillance area to get their animals sampled. In addition to allowing us to assure hunters about the safety of their meat, they are helping us gather needed information about the disease,” Beck said.
Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never eat meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal sampled.
Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:
- Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
- Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
- Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)
Montanans need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.
Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD-positive state. Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class 2 landfill. A Class 2 landfill accepts all solid waste, except regulated hazardous waste. Most major landfills in Montana are Class 2. However, if you have any questions, contact your city or county public works director. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.
For more information, please see our website fwp.mt.gov/CWD. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email the CWD response team at CWDresponse@mt.gov.
(Feature photo via Springfield News Leader)