A mule deer pulled by a hunter on November 12 north of Chester near the Canadian border tested positive for chronic disease.
The deer was captured in the 401 hunting district in Liberty County.
The test results mark the fifth CWD incident discovered in the wild deer of Montana this fall. The other four deer came from the south of Billings.
Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, although the disease exists in herds of wild deer in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
anticipating the arrival of the disease in Montana, FWP recently updated its CWD response plan, and FWP director Martha Williams brought together an incident command team to respond to detection near Billings. FWP is in the process of assembling a team for the latest detection north of Chester.
An incident command team defines an initial response area (IRA) around where an infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt to collect sufficient samples to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease. The details of this search would be determined by the incident command team.
FWP has organized a search to respond to detections in south central Montana. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at its Thursday meeting in Helena for final approval.
It has not yet been determined whether a special CWD hunt will occur at the site of the last detection north of Chester. Currently, there is no general open deer hunting season near where the deer was harvested on HD 401
DFT can only be detected effectively in samples of dead animals. CWD is a progressive and deadly disease that affects the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE). TSEs are caused by poorly folded and infectious prion proteins that cause normal prion proteins throughout the body of a healthy animal to bend erroneously, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.
Although there is no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans, officials recommended not eating meat from animals that appeared to be sick or that are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters who have harvested a deer, elk or moose from an area infected with CWD have tested the animal before consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, it is best to contact the FWP and inspect the animal.
Some simple precautions should be taken when deer, elk or moose field dresses:
- Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when dressing in the field.
- Minimize the management of the brain and spinal tissues.
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after completing the bandage in the field.
- Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals (The normal field dressing together with the deboning of a carcass will essentially eliminate these parts.)
For more information on the answer of CWD and FWP, see online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD . You can send an email to CWDresponse@mt.gov.