A mule deer buck harvested by an archery hunter last month is suspected to be positive of chronic wasting disease. The hunter had submitted the lymph nodes from the deer for testing. A follow up test is being run to confirm the results.
This marks the 20th detection of CWD in Region 6, the 21st along the Hi-Line, and the first in Hunting District 630, which is south of Glasgow, Hinsdale and Saco. Hunting District 630 will now be considered part of the Northern Montana CWD Management Zone.
To reduce the spread of CWD, whole carcasses, whole heads or spinal columns cannot be taken out of a CWD management zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD. Hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of hides, bones and trimmings at approved landfills or leave the spinal column at the kill site (with landowner permission if on private land.)
In 2019, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will continue chronic wasting disease surveillance in high-priority areas in parts of northern, western and southern Montana, primarily from hunter-harvested animals. Hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in these areas should stop at a local CWD-sampling check station to have the animal sampled, although it is voluntary in the northern CWD management zone. FWP staff will collect samples and submit them for testing.
Testing for CWD will take place all along the Hi-Line, including at check station locations in Plentywood, Malta, and Havre, along with the Region 6 Headquarters in Glasgow. If hunters harvest an animal outside of a CWD management zone, but still would like it sampled, they can take the lymph nodes themselves and mail them to the lab (per instructions found online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD) or bring the animal or head to a regional office for sampling. An animal harvested outside a CWD management zone may possibly be sampled at a CWD check station, but there may be a wait time if the check station is busy.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.