Test results from three deer harvested in Blaine County have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks on Friday.
The deer were harvested within the 2018 priority surveillance area, which includes the northern half of Blaine County.
As a result, the northern part of Blaine County — north of U.S. Highway 2 — has been designated a CWD-positive area. A previously existing CWD-positive area includes all of Liberty County.
FWP has notified the hunters who submitted the samples.
To prevent the spread of CWD to other portions of Montana, the brain and spinal column of deer, elk or moose harvested within either CWD-positive area cannot be transported outside of the associated transport restriction zone, or TRZ, which includes Toole, Liberty and Hill counties, and with this latest detection has been expanded to include Blaine and Phillips counties. Hunters are reminded not to leave this expanded TRZ with whole deer, elk or moose carcasses from either CWD-positive area but should consider processing the animal within the TRZ or only removing quarters and deboned meat with no spinal column or head attached.
Hunters also need to be aware that because of this new detection of CWD, FWP is relying on collecting more samples from the area to determine disease prevalence among the deer population and its potential distribution. This information is critical for FWP in developing a plan for managing the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hunters who harvest deer, elk and moose in CWD-positive areas have the meat tested before consumption. Although there is no known transmission of CWD to humans, the World Health Organization and the CDC recommend not consuming meat from an animal known to be infected with CWD.
FWP would like hunters who harvest deer, elk or moose within the priority surveillance area, which includes the Hi-Line from the Blackfeet Reservation to the North Dakota border and HDs 210, 212 and 217 in western Montana, to submit the animals for CWD testing. This can be done by visiting surveillance area check stations, which are open on weekends, or by contacting or visiting the FWP regional office in Great Falls at 406-454-5840, Glasgow at 406-228-3700, Havre at 406-265-6177, Missoula at 406-542-5500, or Billings at 406-247-2940 during the week.
As a reminder, the head of the animal is needed for testing. The standard test is to look at an animal’s retropharyngeal lymph nodes or brainstem for evidence of CWD.
Check station locations that will sample for CWD:
- Hunters can also bring animals into the Havre and Glasgow offices during the week
- Great Falls office during the week
- South of Hall
- South of Phillipsburg