Last weekend’s opening of general big game season coincided with the opening of Chronic Wasting Disease check stations around the region.Starting Saturday, CWD check stations will be open at Hysham and Ekalaka, operating on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-sunset and Monday from 8 a.m.-noon. Ashland’s CWD check station will open on Sunday and operate from 10 a.m.-sunset. Monday’s hours at Ashland are 8 a.m.-noon. Broadus will offer a CWD check station on Tuesday from 10 a.m.-sunset.
Throughout the general season, the Ekalaka, Hysham and Ashland CWD check stations will run every Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and Broadus will be open on Tuesday.
Hunters harvesting a deer, elk or antelope in the Priority Sampling Area in the southern portions of Hunting Districts 702, 704 and 705 are asked to stop at a check station so FWP can sample their animal for CWD at no cost to them. They should bring the head and four inches of neck for sampling purposes. These hunters also may stop at the Miles City regional FWP office on Mondays and Tuesdays during business hours to have their animal sampled. The other option is to collect the sample themselves and mail it to the FWP lab in Bozeman. Test results should be available online in about three weeks at fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
Hunters harvesting an animal outside of the Priority Sampling Area also may have their animal tested for free. They can submit the sample themselves to the lab in Bozeman, bring the head to the regional FWP office on Mondays and Tuesdays, or visit a check station. Because priority will be placed on processing samples taken from within the Priority Sampling Area, hunters outside that zone may experience some wait times at regional offices or at check stations.
If hunters harvest an animal inside the Southern Montana CWD Management Zone, they cannot move the animal’s whole carcass, head or spinal column outside of that zone. This is to prevent the spread of CWD. That zone includes HD 704 south of Hwy 212, HDs 502 and 510, that portion of HD 520 east of Hwy 212, that portion of HD 575 north and east of Hwy 78, that portion of HD 590 south of Interstate 90, plus the communities of Billings, Broadus, and others on the defined boundaries. Hunters should be prepared to quarter or bone out their meat before leaving CWD Management Zones.
Hunters should continue to check sampling areas and transport restrictions on the CWD map at fwp.mt.gov/cwd, as the map will change with new detections of CWD. More information on CWD can be found on the same site.