Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will continue chronic wasting disease surveillance this year in high-priority areas known as Priority Surveillance Areas in northwest, southwest and eastern Montana. Hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in these areas are asked to voluntarily submit their animal for sampling to help gather additional data for that area. This information will be used to help inform the best management strategies for the affected hunting districts.
This year, FWP will not have transportation restriction zones or CWD management zones.
To help prevent the spread of CWD, hunters must properly dispose of their carcass waste in a landfill to help prevent the spread of the disease. Proper carcass disposal is critical to protecting Montana’s herds. All carcass parts, such as brain, eyes, spleen, lymph glands, and spinal cord material, should be bagged and disposed of in a landfill or may be left at the kill site.
Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. This new requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses wherever in the state they are harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage.
In other areas across the state, FWP will pay for CWD tests for hunters who send their samples to the FWP lab in Bozeman. For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
CWD check stations and sampling locations will be set up around Montana, including:
- FWP regional offices in Kailspell, Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings, Miles City and Glasgow.
- Check/sampling stations in Libby, Thompson Falls, Olney, Ennis, Dillon, Butte Area Office, Havre Area Office, Hysham, Ashland/Broadus and Mosby/Flowing Wells.
Hours and exact locations can be found on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. At these locations, FWP will be collecting CWD samples from hunter harvested animals. Additionally, FWP will be helping hunters collect samples during business hours at the regional office locations.
Hunters will also be able to submit their samples on their own by following the directions at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. The samples can be mailed to the Wildlife Health Lab at the FWP Regional Headquarters in Bozeman.
What you need to know about chronic wasting disease in Montana
- CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal and there is no known cure.
- It was first found in Montana in 2017.
- It is not known to infect humans, but it is strongly recommended that humans not eat meat from infected animals.
- CWD can cause large declines in deer and elk populations.
- Symptoms include poor body condition, excessive salivation and drooling, drooping head and ears and disoriented behavior.
What you can do
- Report any sick-looking deer, elk or moose to FWP.
- If you harvest a deer, elk or moose in a priority sampling area, stop at a CWD sampling location to have your animal sampled.
- Properly dispose of carcasses. All carcass parts, such as brain, eyes, spleen, lymph glands, and spinal cord material, must be bagged and disposed of in a landfill or may be left at the kill site. Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. This new requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses wherever in the state they are harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage
- If you harvest a deer, elk or moose outside of a priority sampling area and are interested in knowing the CWD status of your animal, send your sample to the FWP lab in Bozeman. For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
- Take precautions: When field dressing your animal, wear gloves and eye protection and minimize handling brain and spinal tissue. For more information, go to fwp.mt.gov/cwd.