Montana hunters by are being asked to help manage and monitor Chronic Wasting Disease, which is present along the Hi-Line, mostly north of Highway 2, in southern Montana south of Billings, Yellowstone County, within a half mile of our southeast border near Decker, and in Libby.
For 2019, FWP has designated specific CWD Management Zones where CWD is known to exist and Sampling Areas where FWP will sample hunter-harvested animals to look for new infections.
If left unmanaged, CWD will spread. As infection rates increase, it can have a significant impact on wildlife, according to FWP director Martha Williams.
CWD Management Zones are areas where CWD is known to exist. To prevent the spread of CWD from infected areas of Montana to other parts of the state, the whole carcass, whole head, brain, or spinal column from any deer, elk, or moose harvested within a CWD Management Zone may not be removed from that Management Zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD.
A map of current CWD Management Zones, where CWD is known to exist, is available online.
The map will be updated every Wednesday at noon throughout the hunting season.
Animal parts that can be removed from a CWD Management Zone include meat cut and wrapped or separated from the bone; hides with no heads attached; quarters or parts with no spine or head attached; and skull plates, antlers or skulls with no tissue.
Evidence of the animal’s sex does not have to be attached to any part of the carcass but cannot be destroyed and should accompany the animal from field to point of processing.
The rules apply to the following management zones:
Northern Montana CWD Management Zone: Hunting Districts 400, 401, 600, 611, 640, 641, and 670 including the communities of Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and others that are on the defined boundaries.
Southern Montana CWD Management Zone: Hunting Districts 502 and 510, that portion of HD 520 east of Highway 212, that portion of HD 575 north and east of Highway 78, that portion of HD 590 south of Interstate 90, that portion of HD 704 south of Hwy 212, including the communities of Billings, Broadus, and others that are on the defined boundaries.
Libby CWD Management Zone: That portion of Lincoln County bounded on N by Barron, Pipe, and Seventeen Mile roads; on W by USFS Libby Ranger District Boundary; on S by Bear and Libby creeks and S boundaries of TWPs T29N, R29W and R30W; on E by Fisher River to Hwy 37, Kootenai River, and Lake Koocanusa.
Yellowstone County CWD Management Zone: All of Yellowstone County and the portion of Big Horn County north of Interstate 90 and west of the Big Horn River.
If a hunter harvests an animal within one of these zones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the animal tested for CWD before eating it. If it is positive, the hunter will be contacted by FWP.
Sampling areas are areas at highest risk of becoming infected through the natural spread. Hunters who stop at check stations in a sampling area may be asked if their animal can be tested.
Hunters will be able to see the test results online within three weeks. A list of CWD check station locations and hours of operation, and where to send hunter-collected samples to the FWP lab in Bozeman are available here.