Following initial testing, a white-tailed deer in Lincoln County is suspected to be positive for chronic wasting disease, according to a press release from Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The agency collected the carcass of the road-killed adult doe on Aug. 26 along Pipe Creek Road near the Lincoln County landfill and sent to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University for testing. The lab identified the sample to be “suspected of CWD infection and will run a second test for confirmation,” according to the press release.
If confirmed, the doe would mark the seventh detection of chronic wasting disease in the Libby area. The first was discovered west of the Continental Divide in the wild in late May.
As of Sept. 6, Fish, Wildlife and Parks has submitted 117 samples from the Libby area for chronic wasting disease testing. All positive detections thus far have involved white-tailed deer.
There is no known transmission of the disease to humans or other animals including pets or livestock. It affects the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose, and is slow acting and always fatal.
In response to the detections, the Libby CWD Management Zone was established with the goal to identify the prevalence and distribution of the disease. The area encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the management zone must be checked and sampled within three days. This includes any that are harvested with a Libby Special CWD Hunt B license and any other type of license. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.
Before Oct. 26, hunters who successfully harvest an animal are required to bring the head to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Libby office at 385 Fish Hatchery Road. Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill as well.
During big game season, hunters who harvest an animal will be required to stop at the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station. The Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekdays during the general season and all hunters, with or without game, must stop at the check station.
Hunters will be provided a unique identification number with which they can look up test results on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks website. Test results are usually available within three weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people not consume the meat if the animal has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
Following the guidelines of Montana’s chronic wasting disease Management Plan, a special hunt is still scheduled to take place in the Libby area this fall. Fish, Wildlife and Parks sold 600 white-tailed deer antlerless B licenses that can only be used in the established Libby Management Zone. The hunt will occur at the same time as the archery and general hunting season and will follow the saem regulations.
The special hunt is part of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s most recent efforts to lessen the the disease.