The discovery of chronic free deer disease in Montana this fall means restrictions for athletes who come from CW-free states to hunt deer, elk or elk there.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has introduced an emergency rule that adds Montana to the list of states and provinces with restrictions on which parts of the game animals can be brought across the state border.
CWD has not been detected in Washington or Idaho, and officials hope to keep it on track. The discovery of CWD in Montana means that the disease has jumped a step further to the west.
CWD is caused by prions (mutated proteins) that affect the nervous system of the deer family. It is a fatal disease that can be transmitted between these animals, WDFW said in a statement. Although CWD is not known to affect humans, experts routinely advise hunters to avoid the consumption of sick animals and to wear protective gloves when playing in the field.
"We talked about our contingency to deal with CWD at our meeting last week," Brad Corkill, The Idaho Fishing and Hunting Commissioner of Cataldo said Tuesday at a sports breakfast in Coeur d'Alene. "Our discussion is no longer about" if "CWD arrives in Idaho, it's about" when ".
"Idaho Fish and Game currently has no restrictions against hunters who bring deer or elk carcbades to the state," said Roger Phillips, agency media contact in Boise. He said the agency is reviewing its CWD response plan, which was written in 2002 and revised in 2010 and 2012. The next revision could address the transportation of corpses to reduce the chances of CWD coming from other states.
CWD has been detected in animals in 23 states and two Canadian provinces, as well as in South Korea and Norway. Other states and provinces with import restrictions in Washington are listed on page 65 of the pamphlet and Hunting Stations of the 2017 Great Game of Washington.
Washington restricts hunters who harvest a deer, elk or elk in CWD-positive status, which now includes Montana: by bringing certain tissues and potions from the animal's head a skeleton in the state.
Only the following items of these animals can be brought to Washington:
- Meat that has been deboned in the state or province where it was harvested and imported as boneless meat.
- Skulls and antlers, horns attached to the skull plate, or upper canine teeth (cornets, whistles, ivories) from which all soft tissues have been removed.
- layers without joined heads.
- Fabric imported to be used by a diagnostic or research laboratory.
- Completed taxidermy mounts.
WDFW has been testing CWD since 1995, although tests have been occasional in recent years, said Kristin Manfield, state wildlife veterinarian.
Montana officials have confirmed that a deer killed by a hunter in late October suffered from the disease. A second potential case is being subjected to additional tests. It is the first time the disease has been detected in Montana's wildlife.