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Another suspected chronic wasting disease case reported near Libby

Posted at 9:19 AM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 13:19:58-04

LIBBY — State wildlife officials report that another case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) is suspected in Northwest Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says a white-tailed deer that was road-killed near the Lincoln County landfill is suspected to be positive of chronic wasting disease.

FWP collected the carcass on Aug. 26 along Pipe Creek Road and sent it to a Colorado lab for testing. The sample was identified to be suspected of CWD infection and will run a second test for confirmation.

FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish notes that if confirmed, the new result marks the seventh detection of CWD in the Libby area. The first detection, which occurred in late May, marked the first time CWD was detected west of the Continental Divide in the wild.

The positive detections have all involved white-tailed deer, according to Tabish. State wildlife officials have submitted 117 samples for CWD testing from the Libby area as of Friday.

FWP has established the Libby CWD Management Zone, which encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone must be checked and sampled within three days of harvest.

Tabish says that hunters who successfully harvest an animal before Oct. 26 are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office on Fish Hatchery Road. A collection site will also be set up for hunters to self-report and submit the head for testing.

During general big game season, the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on U.S. Highway 2 will be open daily from 11 a.m. until 90 minutes after sunset.

Hunters are only required to stop at the sampling station if they harvested an animal.

Meanwhile, the Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekends from 11 a.m. until 90 minutes after sunset during the general season. All hunters, with or without game, passing the check station must stop.

Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill and animals will be tagged with a unique identification number. Hunters can use that number to look up test results on the FWP website. Test results are usually available within three weeks, according to Tabish.

Following the guidelines of Montana’s CWD Management Plan, FWP is scheduling a Special CWD Hunt in the Libby area this fall. FWP sold 600 white-tailed deer antlerless B licenses that can only be used in the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104.

The hunt will occur at the same time as the archery and general hunting season and follow the same regulations for dates, weapon restrictions, and access.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.