Hunters harvested at least 107 deer in Carbon County over the weekend to kick off 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 during the first three days of the special season, included 73 mule deer and 34 white-tailed deer. The season opened Friday, Dec. 15. It will run through Feb. 15, unless hunters fill a quota of 200 deer of each species before that date.
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.