Hunters Needed to Fight Chronic Wasting Disease

elk3The Montana Wildlife Federation is co-hosting a series of informational meetings with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to better inform hunters in northwest Montana how to help limit the spread of deadly Chronic Wasting Disease in big game.

“As hunters, we know that Chronic Wasting Disease is the most serious threat to our deer, elk, and moose that we face,” said Nick Gevock MWF conservation director. “It’s absolutely vital that as many hunters as possible learn what steps we must take to keep this disease as limited as possible, especially since it’s recently shown up in northwest Montana.”

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a degenerative neurological disease that affects deer, elk, and moose. It is caused by misshaped proteins, or prions, and is spread in urine, feces and other bodily fluids. The diseases cause animals to lose cognitive function and is always fatal.

It was first detected in Montana in 2017 and has now shown up in white-tailed deer in and around Libby. Montana FWP has taken aggressive steps to learn how prevalent CWD is in the area, and to reduce deer numbers to limit its spread. Those include issuing 600 white-tailed doe “B” licenses in the area. Harvested deer will be quartered and held in a cooler while they’re tested for CWD.

MWF has donated 52 game bags for the special hunt and is working to get hunters involved in these efforts to reduce deer numbers in and around town.

“We know that hunting is the best, time-tested tool we have to manage wildlife, and this instance is no different,” Gevock said. “We want to make sure hunters are informed of how to handle their game and are taking the proper steps to ensure we’re doing all we can to limit the spread of this deadly disease.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff will be in hand to provide information about chronic wasting disease (CWD), management plans and hunting season changes.

The meetings all run from 6 to 8 p.m. and are scheduled as follows:

Monday, Aug. 19 in Eureka at Glacier Bank, 222 Dewey Ave.

Wednesday, Aug. 21 in Polson at KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino, 49708 U.S. Highway 93.

Thursday, Aug. 22 in Trout Creek, Lakeside Motel and Resort, 2955 MT Highway 200.

Monday, Aug. 26 in Kalispell, Montana FWP Region 1 Headquarters, 490 N. Meridian Rd.

Wednesday, Aug. 28 in Libby, Libby City Hall, 952 E. Spruce St, Suite 100.

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