Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is not new to the state of Montana, it has been around since 2017 but FWP recently reported a white-tailed deer buck did confirm positive for the fatal disease, making it the first confirmed case in the Gallatin Valley.
“We knew chronic wasting disease was on the way to this part of the state. Really, we’ve seen it kind of move its way to the interior of the state,” said Morgan Jacobsen FWP Information and Education Manager for Region 3.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It’s something that FWP takes very seriously because it affects the health of the state’s wildlife herds and has a wide-spread effect.
“It has the potential to impact the wildlife here in Montana, the recreation opportunities that come with that and other factors,” said Jacobsen.
The deer in Gallatin County was reported by residents near the Springhill area in Bozeman showing common symptoms of the disease -- limited mobility, wide posture, droopy head and ears, and salivating.
“We went out, euthanized the animal, tested it for chronic wasting disease and came back positive.”
The state is working to manage the disease and is asking for the public’s help. If you see a deer, elk, or moose displaying classic symptoms, call FWP to report the animal.
“The way Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks manages chronic wasting disease involves a lot of participation and input and cooperation from the public of Montana,” said Jacobsen.
The newly confirmed case may have an impact on hunters in the area as well.
“CWD is a reality, people who hunt should be aware that there may be other restrictions in how they handle their carcass and how they process their game, how they transport it, and how they dispose of it,” Jacobsen explained.
FWP officials say one symptom they’re not looking for is if a deer appears skinny and frail. They say that’s common for deer this time of the year and does not need to be reported.
Click here to learn more about CWD in Montana.