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Hunters harvest 65 deer on first full week of CWD hunt

BILLINGS – Hunters harvested 65 deer in Carbon County last week and over the weekend as part of a special hunt to gather data on chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in south central Montana.

The deer brought to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ check station at Joliet or to Billings between Dec. 19-24 included 44 mule deer and 21 white-tailed deer. The count brings the total for the hunt, which opened Dec. 15, to 117 mule deer and 55 white-tailed deer.

The special hunting season will run through Feb. 15, unless hunters fill a quota of 200 deer of each species before that date.

Of the mule deer checked during the past week, eight were bucks and 36 were antlerless. Of the white-tailed deer checked, nine were bucks and 12 were antlerless.

The special hunt is designed to gather information about the distribution and prevalence of CWD in deer in an area of Carbon County where six deer harvested during the 2017 general big-game season tested positive for the disease. Hunters are required to submit their harvested deer to FWP within three days either at a check station at Joliet or at FWP’s Region 5 headquarters in Billings Heights. The Joliet check station is open every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Region 5 headquarters is open during normal business hours.

CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that effects deer, elk and moose. It has been present for some years in states and Canadian providences north, east and south of Montana, but was first found in wild deer in the state this fall during a focused CWD surveillance throughout south central Montana.

Results of testing on small tissue samples taken from harvested deer are expected in two to three weeks.

CWD has not been shown to spread to people, pets, livestock or wildlife outside of the deer family. However, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend not consuming meat from an animal known to be infected with CWD. The CDC also recommends that hunters have deer tested if they were harvested in areas where CWD is known to be present.

More information about CWD and the special hunt is available online to http://fwp.mt.gov/cwd.