KALISPELL — State wildlife officials report that another white-tailed deer in the Libby area is suspected to be positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks collected a sample from the adult doe that was found dead on residential property on the west side of town. A Colorado lab tested the sample and identified it to be suspected of CWD infection and will run a second test for confirmation.
If confirmed, the new result marks the tenth detection of CWD out of 144 samples collected and submitted for testing from the Libby area so far this year. The positive detections have all involved white-tailed deer.
If hunters are interested in having their harvested deer, elk or moose tested for CWD, this fall FWP will pay for sampling for hunters who collect their own samples and send them to the FWP lab in Bozeman.
Prior to the general season, hunters can collect samples themselves and mail them to the FWP Lab — instructions and a video are available on the FWP website. Starting with the general season, hunters can still submit samples themselves or take the samples or a deer/elk/moose head to regional offices for assistance.
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. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.
Before Oct. 26, hunters who successfully harvest an animal in the Libby CWD Management Zone are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office at 385 Fish Hatchery Roadd. A collection site is 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 US Highway 2 will be open every day from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the Sampling Station if they harvested an animal in the Libby CWD Management Zone.
The Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekends from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset during the general season and all hunters, with or without game, passing the check station must stop.
Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill inside the Libby CWD Management Zone. Animals will be tagged with a unique identification number. Hunters can use that identification number to look up test results on the FWP website. Test results are usually available within three weeks.
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 (CDC) 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.