By angelamontana

Posted: July 8, 2022

KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is hosting an upcoming informational meeting on chronic wasting disease in Libby.

The public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19 at 7 p.m. in the Ponderosa Room at Libby City Hall, 952 East Spruce. FWP staff will provide an update on CWD management and surveillance efforts in the area.

CWD was first detected in the Libby area in 2019 after a white-tailed deer tested positive. Following the state’s CWD Management Plan, FWP established a management zone covering a 10-mile radius around town and began surveillance efforts to identify the prevalence and distribution of the disease. Surveillance efforts also focused within the city limits of Libby. Surveillance has involved sampling roadkill, symptomatic animals, deer trapped in the urban center of town, and hunter harvests of deer, elk, and moose.

From late 2021 through early 2022, FWP captured and dispatched 99 deer in and around Libby city limits. Of those, 92 were distributed to a local food bank.

In addition, FWP has offered expanded hunting opportunities within the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104. The 199-20 either-sex white-tailed deer B license is only valid within the Libby CWD Management Zone, and more than 2,600 licenses were sold last year. This year, in response to input from hunters, FWP set a quota of 2,000 for the 199-20 B license.

Some of these limited licenses remain available through the surplus license drawing, and hunters interested in signing up for the leftover licenses can do so through July 20. To be placed on the Surplus License List, hunters can sign up through the MyFWP portal: https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpExtPortal/login/login.jsp.

FWP is grateful for the City of Libby, private landowners, and hunters who have supported efforts to reduce the prevalence and spread of CWD in the area. FWP staff in Libby continue to work with staff at the Wildlife Health Lab in Bozeman to accurately estimate CWD prevalence in the area.

CWD is a fatal disease that can affect the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Transmission can most commonly occur through direct contact between cervids, as well as shed in urine, feces, saliva, blood and antler velvet from infected cervids. Carcasses of infected cervids may serve as a source of environmental contamination as well and can infect other cervids that come into contact with that carcass.

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.

For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

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