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What to know after you finish your hunt this season

Posted at 7:02 PM, Oct 24, 2020

You did it! You’ve got your animal during hunting season and you’re ready to head home, but with an extra caution: there are some things to be aware of before handling your deer, elk, or moose — something like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

“If CWD is left unmanaged, we think it's going to have an impact on the populations of our deer and elk herds," said Greg Lemon, spokesperson for Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

CWD is 100% fatal in the deer family. Although there is no evidence that says this disease can transfer to humans, the Centers for Disease Control does not recommend eating animals that test positive. Fish, Wildlife & Parks needs help from hunters to help manage the disease.

“The only way you can test for CWD, that's reliable, is from a dead animal," said Lemon. "For that reason, we use hunters, we rely on hunters to help us get samples,”

A sample consists of taking the lymph nodes under the jaw of the deer and elk. There are stations across Montana to visit and they will take the sample themselves. Fish, Wildlife & Parks also recommends noting the exact location the deer was hunted down. The entire process is free and completely voluntary.

If you wish to get your animals sampled for CWD in Helena, the office is closed due to staffing issues. There are other ways to send in the sample, you may call other Fish, Wildlife & Parks stations for more details.

If you wish to learn more about CWD and the stations taking samples, the sampling stations are under COVID-19 guidelines, masks are required when visiting the stations.

Click here to learn more about CWD and other sampling stations.