Hunters who successfully harvest a deer or elk in northeastern and north-central Montana are being asked to submit the heads of the animal for chronic wasting disease (CWD) monitoring.
While CWD has not been detected in wild ungulates in Montana, the fatal disease has been diagnosed in wild deer about 100 miles north of the Canadian border in Saskatchewan. FWP’s CWD monitoring effort is in its fourth year and is being conducted to determine if the disease has made its way into Montana.
The voluntary submission of deer and elk heads by hunters is a critical component of this CWD monitoring effort. Deer and elk heads can be placed in 55-gallon barrels at six drop sites (listed below) in and near Region 6. Heads should be submitted as soon as possible after the hunt in order to be suitable for testing.
Hunters who intend to submit deer or elk heads must leave other evidence of sex attached to the carcass. This consists of the testes on males or mammary glands on females. Cut off the animal’s head, leaving about 4 inches of neck attached to the head. This will insure that all tissues suitable for testing are included with the head. Bucks and bulls may be submitted with antlers or hunters can remove the antlers with the skull cap.
A tag will be provided at the head barrels, and it’s important to provide as much information as possible with your submitted head. The hunter’s name and location (GPS coordinates, drainage, lake or prominent landmark) of the kill are required for CWD testing. The tag should be secured to the head by making a small incision in the middle of the ear and attaching the tag with a cable tie provided at the collection site.
Head collection barrels in northeast Montana are at these locations:
Montana’s CWD management plan has been finalized, and a decision notice of the document can be found on FWP’s web site at www.fwp.mt.gov. Click on the CWD Decision Notice button to be linked to the report, which details disease prevention, monitoring and management efforts.