A mule deer buck harvested by a hunter in Hunting District (HD) 690 southwest of Chinook is suspected to be positive of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The hunter had submitted their sample for testing. A follow up test is being run to confirm the results.
Including the positives found in 2018, this marks the 25th detection of CWD in Region 6, and the first in HD 690. HD 690 will now be considered part of the Northern Montana CWD Management Zone, and animal transport restrictions will apply to HD 690.
In 2019, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is continuing CWD sampling for deer, elk, and moose. Sampling took place last year in Region 6, but more samples are needed in the Northern CWD Management Zone of R6, particularly mule deer does and white-tailed deer, to further determine distribution and prevalence of the disease. FWP is also sampling for CWD in southeast Montana, near Philipsburg, and in the Libby area.
Hunters are the key tool for this sampling effort. The more samples FWP can collect, particularly from the CWD sampling areas, the better FWP can understand the distribution and prevalence of this disease.
“Even though we have reached our mule deer buck sampling goal in most of the districts, the more samples we have the better we can understand the distribution of the disease,” says Scott Thompson, FWP Region 6 Wildlife Manager. “We are especially in need of doe samples to help describe the prevalence of the disease in the overall deer herd. In addition, hunters may want to know if their harvest is CWD positive, and the only way this can be determined is through testing.”
In addition to the CWD sampling areas, testing is also available for hunter-harvested samples from anywhere in the state. For 2019, all CWD testing is free of charge. Hunters outside of CWD sampling areas can take the samples themselves and fill out the information sheet found online, and either mail the samples to the FWP lab in Bozeman or drop them off at a FWP reginal office during business hours.
Transporting deer, elk, and moose carcasses
Hunters are reminded that to reduce the spread of CWD, by law, whole carcasses, whole heads or spinal columns cannot be taken out of a CWD management zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD; note that when an animal is tested at a check station (or mailed in), it may take up to three weeks to receive results from the test. Hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of hides, bones and trimmings at approved landfills.
In FWP Region 6, these are your options for getting your deer, elk or moose tested:
To be able to get your animal tested, you must retain at least the head (with four-inches of the neck attached) for sampling and help fill out a small information card, including the location of your harvest. Once sampled, it may take up to three weeks to receive results from the test. Please see the options below for getting your animal tested:
CWD check stations
Three CWD check stations will be open on the weekends throughout the general season in Region 6, with the primary purpose of collecting samples from hunter-harvested deer in the Northern CWD Management Zone.
Plentywood: 10 a.m.-sunset, Sat.-Sun., on the east side of the rest area at the fair grounds
Malta: 10 a.m.-sunset, Sat.-Sun., at the gravel lot behind Westside Conoco on the north side of Hwy 2
Havre: 9 a.m.-sunset, Sat.-Sun., at the old rest stop east of Havre
Samples from the priority areas (CWD Management Zones) will take precedence at these check stations. If the animal was harvested outside of a CWD Management Zone, there may be a wait time, or the hunter can use one of the options below.
Note: All hunters need to stop at any check station, whether it is a CWD, biological, or game warden check station. Submitting your animal for testing is voluntary.
Hunters can bring in their animal during normal office hours in:
Glasgow: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri., at the FWP Headquarters on Hwy 2 west
Havre: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mon.-Fri., at the FWP Havre office at 2165 Hwy 2 east