KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is encouraging hunters to submit a voluntary sample from their harvested animals to test for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
FWP officials will help hunters with sample collection and submission and will cover the cost of testing CWD is a progressive fatal neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose.
Hunters who want their animal sampled should leave 2” to 4” of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass.
FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish says samples cannot be collected from frozen heads. He explained the samples give wildlife officials a better understanding of where CWD is prevalent while coming up with management strategies.
“If you come to a Fish, Wildlife and Parks check station or if you come to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks office in Kalispell will assist you to collect that lymph node that we send in for testing,” Tabish said.
“So far we have not had any positives pop up and that’s a great thing but we’re asking hunters if they would like help getting their animal tested, we’re to help them,” Tabish added.
Tabish reminds hunters that dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including CWD. All carcasses -- including the head and spinal column -- must be disposed of in a class II landfill after butchering and processing.