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 collected in “high risk” areas along Montana’s borders with Wyoming, South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta. CWD is a brain disease in deer, elk and moose that is always fatal.
Over the past 12 years FWP has tested more than 15,000 wild elk or deer in Montana for CWD and has not yet found any evidence of the disease.
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.
“The good news is that we haven’t found CWD in Montana wildlife populations, but given the location of the disease in wild elk, deer and moose in adjacent states and Canadian provinces we’ll keep testing because 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.
CWD has been detected in Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Colorado among other states, and in Saskatchewan and Alberta. No one is sure where CWD came from. It was first detected in the wild in 1981. Since then it has been found in wild herds or alternative livestock ranches, or game farms, in 15 states and two provinces.
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.”