COLUMBUS - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking hunters in south-central Montana for a sample of their deer, elk and moose.
The testing will help combat a wildlife disease nearing Montana’s border. FWP is ramping up efforts to look for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Montana.
“Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease of members of the deer family, so deer, elk, moose and caribou,” said FWP’s Emily Almberg.
The slow-moving disease occurs in Wyoming, the Dakotas and Canada. Over time, CWD can cause large-scale declines in infected herds. FWP will rotate CWD surveillance efforts in the coming years with the focus this fall on south-central Montana.
“Fish, Wildlife and Parks has actually done surveillance for CWD for over 20 years, but this year we are really focusing on intensively surveying certain areas and then moving systematically around to our priority areas in the state,” Almberg said.
Though there is no evidence CWD can infect humans, health officials recommend not to eat meat from animals that appear to be sick or are CWD positive. And FWP urges hunters to submit samples from the priority area.
“We are really looking for the cooperation from hunters in searching for this disease and really that is because our efforts to find it, facilitate our ability to manage it and that is really in the best interest of our wild…herds long term,” Almberg said.
In the case of eventual detection of CWD in Montana, FWP has plans in place to help mitigate the disease.
“We haven’t detected it yet, but we all kind of assume it’s just a matter of time before it's in the state and the goal really trying to be living with the disease, but manage it so that it stays at a low level,” Almberg said.
You can learn more about CWD on the FWP website.