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What you need to know about CWD in Montana

Hunting - Region 7

Wed Oct 17 14:08:00 MDT 2018

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal and there is no known cure.

  • It was first found in Montana in 2017.
  • It is not known to infect humans, but it is strongly recommended that humans not eat meat from infected animals.
  • CWD can cause large declines in deer and elk populations.
  • Symptoms include poor body condition, excessive salivation and drooling, drooping head and ears, and disoriented behavior.

What is Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks doing about CWD?

  • In 2018, FWP will do surveillance in high-priority areas in parts of northern, western and southern Montana, primarily from hunter-harvested animals.
  • The import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk and moose from states/provinces that have CWD is unlawful. Many other states have similar import restrictions for animals from Montana.
  • To prevent the spread of the disease, heads and spinal columns from deer, elk and moose from CWD-positive areas in parts of Carbon and Liberty counties may not be moved outside of the surrounding Transport Restriction Zone (TRZ).
  • FWP has conducted surveillance for over 20 years.
  • In CWD-positive areas, FWP is taking action to manage and contain the disease. Potential management actions may include:
  • Increased harvest, especially of antlered animals
  • Targeted removal in limited areas around CWD detections
  • Minimizing large groupings of deer by removing or fencing attractants, through hazing or dispersal hunts
  • Transport restrictions

What can you do?

  • Report any sick-looking deer, elk or moose to FWP.
  • If you harvest a deer, elk or moose in a priority surveillance area, stop at a check station to have your animal sampled. If you harvest an animal in one of the CWD-positive areas, have it tested before eating it.
  • Take precautions: When field dressing your animal, wear gloves and eye protection and minimize handling brain and spinal tissue. For more information, go to