FWP News: Chronic wasting disease detected in Great Falls mule deer buck
By angelamontana

Posted: February 7, 2023

First confirmed case of CWD within Great Falls city limits

GREAT FALLS – Wildlife health staff with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks recently detected chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer buck found dead within the city limits of Great Falls in January.

The adult buck was observed acting abnormally by a property owner, who later found the dead deer inside a building on the property. Biologists collected samples from the deer, and they were confirmed to be positive for CWD in two separate laboratory tests.

This is the first confirmed case of CWD within Great Falls city limits. A mule deer buck harvested by a hunter in Hunting District (HD) 405 about 15 miles east of Great Falls near Belt was confirmed to have CWD late last year.

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 detected in Montana’s wild herds in 2017. The disease is known to exist in other parts of north-central Montana, especially north of Highway 2, as well as in other areas of the state.

FWP has conducted rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and HD 405 and the city of Great Falls are within the priority surveillance area for testing. FWP asks property owners in the Great Falls area to avoid feeding deer and other wildlife, since unnatural concentrations of wildlife increases the risk of spreading CWD and other diseases.

CWD is not known to infect humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist. For more information on CDC recommendations, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/index.html


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