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Special Bridger CWD hunt ends

Hunting - Region 5

Fri Feb 16 12:08:13 MST 2018

BILLINGS - A special deer hunt in Carbon County to gauge the distribution and prevalence of chronic wasting disease ended Thursday with 216 mule deer and 123 white-tailed deer harvested.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, was found southeast of Bridger in Carbon County during the 2017 general big game season. It was the first time that CWD was found in wild game herds in Montana.

As a result, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks then scheduled a two-month special season to track where CWD was present and what percent of the population was infected. Biologists set a quota of 200 mule deer and 200 white-tailed deer to get a statistically valid sample. In addition to deer harvested by hunters, biologists and game wardens gathered samples from deer that died of other causes, including collisions with vehicles.

Tissue samples were taken from all deer harvested during the special season. In addition, biologists and game wardens gathered samples from deer that died of other causes, including collisions with vehicles.

The last of the results, from deer harvested during the final weeks of the season, will be available in about two weeks. So far, seven mule deer from southern Carbon County, one white-tailed deer harvested near Joliet and one mule deer killed in northern Liberty County have tested positive for the disease.

Once the final numbers are in, FWP biologists will determine the next steps in trying to keep CWD from spreading. Already the department has established a “transportation restriction zone” that precludes hunters from removing certain parts of deer killed in much of Carbon County to anyplace other than Carbon and Yellowstone counties.

CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that effects deer, elk and moose. It has been present for some years in states and Canadian provinces north, east and south of Montana, but was first found in wild deer in the state this fall during focused CWD surveillance throughout south central Montana.

CWD has not been shown to spread to people, pets, livestock or wildlife outside of the deer family. However, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend not consuming meat from an animal known to be infected with CWD. The CDC also recommends that hunters have deer tested if they were harvested in areas where CWD is known to be present.

More information about CWD and the special hunt is available online to