On Thursday, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a special chronic wasting disease management hunt in an area north of Chester.
Hunters will be able to purchase mule deer B tags for the hunts on Dec. 26. Online sales will begin at 5 a.m. and in person sales will be available when retailers open for the day. There will be 335 tags available including 60 either sex tags. Interested hunters should plan on being ready to purchase tags right when they become available as the tags for the first CWD hunt in south central Montana sold out in just minutes earlier this month.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Sage Creek Special Chronic Wasting Disease hunt north of Chester.
The licenses for the hunt will go on sale on Dec. 26 – online at about 5 a.m. and at license providers when they open for the day. FWP will sell 335 deer B licenses in an effort to harvest 135 mule deer. Of those 335 licenses, 60 would be either sex and 275 would be antlerless. The hunt will begin Jan. 6 and last through Feb. 15, but could close sooner should the quota be reached.
Each hunter who participates in the Sage Creek Special CWD Hunt should go online and obtain the hunt packet, which includes a map and rules for the hunt. These can be found online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD or at the FWP office in Havre, the check station at the Sage Creek Hutterite Colony or at the FWP region 4 office in Great Falls. All successful hunters must have their animal sampled either at the check station, which is open from 10 a.m. to one hour after sunset, or at the FWP Havre office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week.
CWD was found in a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 401, which borders Canada. This is the second area of the state where CWD was detected this year.
During the general big game season CWD surveillance effort, six deer in south central Montana were found positive for CWD. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is currently holding a special CWD hunt south of Laurel in response to these detections.
The objective of a special CWD hunt, as outlined in FWP’s draft CWD Response Plan, would be to determine disease prevalence and distribution.
The Sage Creek Special CWD Hunt area is about 226 square miles in size and just east of the Sweet Grass Hills. It abuts to the Canadian border. The hunt area is primarily comprised of private land. As outlined in the draft plan, FWP has assembled an incident command team to respond to the discovery.
The hunt area is primarily private land. Hunters, like always, will need to have permission to hunt on private lands. Though this hunt is different in many ways from the general season, the same regulations regarding hunter behavior apply. This includes things like: don’t shoot from roads or vehicles, ensure you’re certain of your target before pulling the trigger and make sure you validate your license before removing the harvested animal from the field. If hunters see illegal activity, please call 1-800 TIPMONT.
CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that effects deer, elk and moose. It is not known to infect humans. The Centers for Disease Control recommends not consuming animals that test positive for CWD. The CDC also recommends getting deer, elk or moose from CWD positive areas tested prior to consumption.
All animals harvested in the hunt must be submitted for sampling.