Elk NetworkTesting Confirms CWD’s Arrival in Montana

General | November 17, 2017

A second test on a tissue sample from a buck harvested in hunting district 510, south of Billings, has come back positive for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested Oct. 22 about 10 miles southeast of Bridger. Initial testing received by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) last week showed the animal was suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck was sent to Colorado State University for follow up testing.

“These were the results we expected,” said Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor and CWD incident command team lead. “Fortunately, we have a well-thought out response plan that will guide our steps moving forward.” 

The first test of a sample from a second buck was reported back as suspect on Tuesday. This buck was harvested on Nov. 5 about 3 miles south of Belfry, also in HD 510. A second sample from the animal is currently undergoing confirmation testing. Those results are expected next week.

In response to these detections, FWP director Martha Williams established an incident command team on Nov. 7. The team is comprised of FWP staff and representatives from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, Montana Department of Livestock, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Crow Nation.

The incident command team is implementing a response outlined in FWP’s CWD Response Plan, which is currently out for public comment. The plan calls for establishing an initial response area for the purposes of a Special CWD Hunt. This hunt, should it occur, would need to be approved by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission and would be held after the general hunting season. The goal of the hunt would be to harvest enough mule deer to establish disease prevalence and distribution.

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)