CWD regulations in Montana

Due to the regular amending of regulations in Montana, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Montana can be seen below:

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FOR NATIONAL REGULATIONS GO HERE

Testing Laboratories in Montana

Sorry, our records do not show any CWD testing laboratories in your state, if you find this to be in error, please contact us.

Locations Where CWD Was Found

Hunting district 510, south of Billings.

Most Recent CWD News

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  • A mule deer buck shot by a hunter Nov. 12 north of Chester on the Hi-Line near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

    The deer was taken in hunting district 401 in Liberty County.

    The test results mark the fifth incident

    Read More
  • A second test on a tissue sample from a buck harvested in hunting district 510, south of Billings, has come back positive for chronic wasting disease.

    This buck was harvested Oct. 22 about 10 miles southeast of Bridger. Initial testing received by Montana Fish, Wildlife

    Read More
  • A second mule deer buck from hunting district 510 was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

    This buck was harvested about 3 miles south of Belfry. A second sample from the buck is being tested by the lab at Colorado State University, with

    Read More
  • A chronic wasting disease sample collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in late October from a hunter-killed deer was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

    The sample was collected from a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 510 south of Billings.

    Read More
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tested more than 1,300 deer, elk and moose collected during the 2010-2011 hunting season and did not detect chronic wasting disease in any of the animals.

    Montana’s detection program tests sick and road-killed deer, elk and moose, and has relied heavily

    Read More
    • 2
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tested more than 1,300 deer, elk and moose collected during the 2009-2010 hunting season and did not detect chronic wasting disease in any of the animals.

    Montana’s detection program tests sick and road-killed deer, elk and moose, and hunter harvest samples

    Read More
    • 2
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Category Archives: Montana

Montana – Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer north of Chester

A mule deer buck shot by a hunter Nov. 12 north of Chester on the Hi-Line near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The deer was taken in hunting district 401 in Liberty County.

The test results mark the fifth incident of CWD discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. The other four deer came from south of Billings. Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, though the disease exists in wild deer herds in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

In anticipation of the disease coming to Montana, FWP recently updated its CWD response plan, and FWP director Martha Williams has assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection near Billings. FWP is in the process of putting together a team for the latest detection north of Chester.

 An incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

FWP is currently organizing a hunt to respond to the detections in south central Montana. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their meeting Thursday in Helena for final approval.

It has not been determined yet if a special CWD hunt will occur at the site of the latest detection north of Chester. Currently, there is no general deer hunting season open near where the deer was harvested in HD 401.

CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.  

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

For more information on CWD and FWP’s response, please look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. You can email [email protected].

Testing confirms CWD in mule deer buck from south central Montana

A second test on a tissue sample from a buck harvested in hunting district 510, south of Billings, has come back positive for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested Oct. 22 about 10 miles southeast of Bridger. Initial testing received by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks last week showed the animal was suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck was sent to Colorado State University for follow up testing.

“These were the results we expected,” said Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor and CWD incident command team lead. “Fortunately, we have a well-thought out response plan that will guide our steps moving forward.”  

The first test of a sample from a second buck was reported back as suspect on Tuesday. This buck was harvested on Nov. 5 about 3 miles south of Belfry, also in HD 510. A second sample from the animal is currently undergoing confirmation testing. Those results are expected next week.

In response to these detections, FWP director Martha Williams established an incident command team on Nov. 7. The team is comprised of FWP staff and representatives from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, Montana Department of Livestock, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Crow Nation.

The incident command team is implementing a response outlined in FWP’s CWD Response Plan, which is currently out for public comment. The plan calls for establishing an initial response area for the purposes of a Special CWD Hunt. This hunt, should it occur, would need to be approved by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission and would be held after the general hunting season. The goal of the hunt would be to harvest enough mule deer to establish disease prevalence and distribution.

For Hunters

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never eat meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal sampled.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montanans need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD-positive state.  Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class 2 landfill. A class 2 landfill accepts all solid waste, except regulated hazardous waste. Most major landfills in Montana are class 2. However, if you have any questions, contact city or county public works director. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at one of the check stations operated in Big Timber, Billings, Columbus, Laurel, or Lavina on Saturdays and Sundays during the general season or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the priority surveillance area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing. 

Background

The area where the suspect and positive samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter-harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number used to check test results. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call or come to the FWP Region 5 office on Lake Elmo Drive in Billings at 406-247-2940 from 8-5 weekdays.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Second deer found suspect for CWD

 A second mule deer buck from hunting district 510 was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested about 3 miles south of Belfry. A second sample from the buck is being tested by the lab at Colorado State University, with results expected next week. This is the second mule deer to be found suspect for CWD within the last week.  

Last Tuesday, FWP got word that a sample from a buck harvested about 10 southeast of Bridger was found to be suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck is being tested to see if the animal is indeed CWD positive.

In response to the initial detection, FWP director Martha Williams created an incident command team. The incident command team is being led by Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor.  

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the new suspect sample. Much of the area where the animal was harvested is public land.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montana hunters need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD positive state.  Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class II landfill. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at a check station within the area or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing. 

The area where both suspect samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer in within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call the FWP Region 5 office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which is open for public comment. In accordance with the response plan the incident command team will define an initial response area around where the infected animals were harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. The most efficient and cost-effective way to test for CWD is by collecting samples from harvested animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Montana: CWD sample comes back suspect, second sample submitted

A chronic wasting disease sample collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in late October from a hunter-killed deer was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

The sample was collected from a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 510 south of Billings. The animal was killed in an area with a mixture of private and public land 10 miles southeast of Bridger. A second sample collected from the animal is being sent to the lab at Colorado State University for further testing, with results expected next week. If the result is positive, it will mark the first time CWD has appeared in wild deer, elk or moose in Montana.

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the suspect sample and landowners in the area where the deer was harvested. Though typically it takes one sample test to determine whether an animal is positive for CWD, that wasn’t the case here. Though the sample is considered suspect at this point, it is very rare that a suspect sample isn’t ultimately found positive. Therefore, FWP is moving forward as if the deer will ultimately be determined positive for CWD.

“We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this, and are hopeful the prevalence will be low as we work toward managing the disease.”

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which was presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on Tuesday and is now open for public comment.

In accordance with the response plan, FWP director Martha Williams assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection. The incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.  

CWD is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds. All the states and provinces that border Montana, other than Idaho and British Columbia, have found CWD in their wild cervids. The closest positive to Montana was in Wyoming, about 8 miles south of the Montana border and less than 50 miles southeast of where Montana’s suspect deer was harvested.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove all of these parts.)

FWP is currently in year one of a revamped CWD surveillance program. Department staff are collecting CWD samples from hunters in this year’s priority area of south central Montana. Most samples are collected from game check stations and cooperating meat processors and taxidermists. Hunters who submit a sample will receive a card with a sample number. That number can be checked online along with the list of results at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Should this suspect sample be determined to be positive, FWP will move quickly to communicate with local landowners, government agencies and the public about plans for a special hunt. The success of any CWD hunt will depend largely on the cooperation from everyone involved.

In the meantime, FWP will be encouraging all hunters harvesting deer within that area (hunting districts 502 and 510) to get them sampled. This can be done by visiting the Laurel check station, which is open on weekends, or by contacting or visiting the FWP regional office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

For more information and to look at test results, go online to fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

CWD Not Found In Montana Wild Game

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tested more than 1,300 deer, elk and moose collected during the 2010-2011 hunting season and did not detect chronic wasting disease in any of the animals.

Montana’s detection program tests sick and road-killed deer, elk and moose, and has relied heavily on testing samples from hunter-harvested animals collected in “high risk” areas. CWD is a brain disease in deer, elk and moose that is always fatal.

Over the past 13 years FWP has tested more than 16,400 wild elk or deer in Montana for CWD and has not yet found any evidence of it.

CWD was diagnosed in 1999 in nine captive elk on an alternative livestock facility, or game farm, near Philipsburg. All the animals there were destroyed and the facility was quarantined.

“It is good news that we haven’t found CWD in Montana wildlife populations yet, but given that the disease occurs in wild elk, deer and moose in adjacent states and Canadian provinces we’ll keep testing. It’s likely we’ll find it here at some point,” said Neil Anderson, FWP’s Wildlife Laboratory supervisor.

FWP adopted a CWD Management Plan to help protect Montana’s wild deer and elk from infection and to manage the disease should it occur here.

If you should see sick, emaciated animals, please report them to the nearest FWP regional office, or the FWP biologist in your area.

For more information, visit FWP’s CWD Frequently Asked Questions at fwp.mt.gov and search “CWD.”

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