To protect Montana’s deer and elk from the impending threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks can no longer safely accept, hold, or rehabilitate deer and elk. FWP Region One Warden Captain Lee Anderson says that this policy is necessary because:

  • CWD, a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk, is spreading in the United States and Canada. CWD has yet to be documented in wild populations in Montana, but it is found in nearby states and provinces.

  • Wildlife health experts believe it is only a matter of time before CWD is found in Montana. FWP’s surveillance for CWD in Montana is in its 7th year. The agency is developing a CWD action plan to be implemented should CWD be found in Montana.

  • An infected animal housed at FWP’s rehabilitation center—or any holding facility—could spread CWD from there back into the wild.

What Can You Do?

Leave It There: It’s natural for deer and elk to leave their young alone for extended periods of time. What appears to be an orphaned animal may not be.

Control Your Dog: A number of the animals FWP receives are the result of dog attacks. Keep your dog under control, especially in the spring when newborn wildlife is most vulnerable. Pet owners can be cited and dogs that harass or kill wildlife may by law have to be destroyed.

Keep In Mind: It is illegal to possess and care for a live animal taken from the wild. Should someone bring a deer or elk to FWP, they’ll be asked to take the animal back to the site where it was found. If the animal can’t be returned to the wild, it will be humanely euthanized.