Biologists determined a chronic wasting disease sample collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in late October from a deer killed by a hunter is suspect for chronic wasting disease.
They collected the sample from a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 510 south of Billings in an area with a mixture of private and public land 10 miles southeast of Bridger. A second sample collected from the animal will be sent to the lab at Colorado State University for further testing, with results expected next week. If the result is positive, it will mark the first time CWD has appeared in wild deer, elk or moose in Montana.
FWP notified the hunter who submitted the suspect sample and landowners in the area. Though typically it takes one sample test to determine whether an animal is positive for CWD, that isn’t the case here. Though the sample is considered suspect at this point, it is very rare that a suspect sample isn’t ultimately found positive. Therefore, FWP is moving forward as if the deer will ultimately be determined positive for CWD.
“We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this, and are hopeful the prevalence will be low as we work toward managing the disease.”
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(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)