By angelamontana

Posted: November 9, 2022

MISSOULA –Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife staff will offer a free clinic in Missoula on Monday, Nov. 21 to teach hunters how to collect lymph node samples from harvested deer, elk and moose so that they can be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The free instructional clinic is planned for Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at the FWP office in Missoula, 3201 Spurgin Road. Attendees will get hands-on practice removing lymph nodes for testing.  Participants should plan to bring their own harvested animal (head and small portion of attached upper neck) for the best hands-on experience.  The animal must be thawed. Those that don’t have a harvested animal to bring can come to observe.

Participants must bring their own Havalon-style knives or scalpels and should dress warmly, as part of the clinic will be held outside. Interested participants should RSVP to FWP’s Region 2 CWD Coordinator, Rebecca Ballard, at rebecca.ballard@mt.gov to confirm attendance and to ask any questions in preparation for the event.

CWD sampling is voluntary in Montana, but FWP encourages deer, elk, and moose hunters to help with disease management by collecting samples.  Data collected helps wildlife staff understand more about the diseases’ distribution and prevalence in the state.

This season, all hunters can have their deer, elk, or moose tested, and FWP is covering the costs. Hunters can either take the samples themselves, fill out an online hunter submission form and mail them to the Wildlife Health Lab in Bozeman, or they can bring the animal (or head) to an FWP regional office or CWD sampling station this fall.

Montana’s 2022 general deer and elk hunting season runs Oct. 22-Nov, 27, so the skills taught at the Missoula clinic will be relevant for hunters that already have a sample from a harvested animal to test, and those that want to learn what to do on future hunts. FWP sampling stations will close at the end of November, but FWP will accept samples from hunters year-round, so knowing how to take your own sample will be especially important after sampling stations close this month.

FWP also has an instructional video on its website that shows hunters how to collect samples. Visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd for more information on CWD and testing options.

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