Wildlife officials collect over 170 chronic wasting disease samples
A mule deer buck with strands of velvet hanging from its antlers trots through the National Bison Range Aug. 29. (Scott Shindledecker/Daily Inter Lake)
| October 30, 2020 12:00 AM
Through opening weekend of the general hunting season, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has collected more than 170 samples from harvested deer, elk and moose to test for chronic wasting disease across Northwest Montana.
All together, hunters submitted samples from 15 elk, 11 mule deer, one moose and 146 white-tailed deer at FWP CWD Sampling Stations in the region during opening weekend.
The general deer and elk hunting season runs through Nov. 29.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks is continuing chronic wasting disease surveillance this year in priority surveillance areas located in Northwest, Southwest and Eastern Montana. Hunters who harvest deer, elk or moose in these areas are asked to voluntarily submit a sample from their animal 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.
The state will cover the cost of testing hunter-harvested animals for the disease. Hunters should look online for information on how to take a sample themselves and submit it for testing or bring animals by a Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional office for sampling.
Sample submission is voluntary throughout Montana. For more information on these surveillance areas and how to submit samples for testing, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
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 wild deer in Montana in 2017. It is not known to infect humans, but it is strongly recommended that people not eat meat from infected animals and to have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.
2020 CWD Sampling Stations in Northwest Montana (Region 1)
For questions, call (406) 752-5501 or visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd
FWP Region 1 Office, Kalispell: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Libby: Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, 11 a.m. – dusk. (Canoe Gulch check station will be closed)
U.S. 2 west of Kalispell: Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. – dusk
Swan: Montana 83 north of Swan Lake: Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. – dusk
Thompson Falls: Montana 200 on the west end of Thompson Falls: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, 11 a.m. – dusk
Olney: U.S. 93: Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. – dusk
Eureka: Lincoln County Fairgrounds, Mondays, 11 a.m. – dusk
Hunters who want their animal sampled are reminded to leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be collected from frozen heads.