Montana Acts to Counter Suspected CWD

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Fresh off examining a suspected case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the first within its state borders, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is taking action to combat its spread.

“We are in the process right now of drawing what we would call an ‘initial response area’,” John Vore, FWP game management bureau chief, told Montana Public Radio. “That’s roughly a 10-mile radius around where this animal came from. Within that area then, we would go in and intensively sample. We would look at getting enough animals to determine prevalence.”

As part of its CWD plan, the hunting season will continue but once it’s over an intensive hunt will take place in order to gather enough samples to determine the spread of CWD. Additionally, FWP already notified landowners, public health officials and the Department of Livestock.

A hunter shot the mule deer in Hunting District 510 south of Billings near the Montana-Wyoming border. Biologists say a first sample taken from the deer is suspect for CWD. They since sent a second sample to a lab at Colorado State for further detailed testing.

“We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this, and are hopeful the prevalence will be low as we work toward managing the disease.”

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)