MDF Supporting Outreach and Detection Efforts
Bozeman, MT: A hunter-harvested mule deer shot 10 miles southeast of Bridger, Montana is suspected of having Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), according to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP). A sample collected by an FWP warden in late October came back suspect and has been sent to the Colorado State University lab for further testing. If confirmed, this would be the first deer in Montana to test positive for the fatal neurological disease. The Mule Deer Foundation encourages all hunters to use precautions when field dressing deer, elk and moose and to follow FWP guidelines for submitting samples from game harvested in targeted surveillance areas for testing.
"While we have been lucky so far to not have this disease affect big game in Montana, we suspected it was a matter of time before Chronic Wasting Disease would be found in the state," commented MDF Montana Regional Director, Chad Klinkenborg, who is a member of the state's CWD Citizen's Advisory Panel. "This is why Montana MDF chapters contributed $5,000 to FWP for their CWD surveillance and detection efforts. FWP has put together an excellent CWD response plan that was presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission this week, and we stand ready to help them respond to this challenge."
Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of cervids including mule and white-tailed deer, elk and moose. The disease is slow-moving but highly contagious and can cause long-term population declines in affected herds. While there is no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans, hunters are encouraged to never consume meat from animals that appear to be sick or are confirmed to be CWD positive. In addition, hunters should wear rubber gloves and eye protection, minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues, and wash hands and knives carefully after field dressing.
Montana FWP is in the first year of increased surveillance for the disease in south central Montana and hunters are encouraged to submit samples from animals taken in Region 5 or the hunting districts in the east part of Region 3 for testing to help with this effort. More information about their response efforts can be found at fwp.mt.gov/CWD
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org
or call 1-888-375-3337.