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Chronic Wasting Disease Has Been Discovered In Montana For The First Time

Red deer
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Last month, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ramped up their surveillance for chronic wasting disease because it was discovered in neighboring states. Unfortunately, FWP Spokesman Bob Gibson says the disease has finally made its way to Montana.

“For the first time ever in Montana, we got a positive result on sampling of mule deer that said that is was infected with chronic wasting disease,” said Gibson. “We have never seen that in Montana before and we hope to never see it again. The intention here is to make sure that we take whatever measures we need to keep it from spreading here in Montana.”

Gibson says they are still trying to figure out what to do to prevent the disease from spreading and it could affect hunting opportunities.

“This is real early in the process,” Gibson said. “We are less than 24 hours from that first positive test result. It could have an effect this year in that we may have a special hunt right around where that animal was harvested so that we can get a whole bunch of samples and test for the prevalence and distribution of chronic wasting disease.”

A Deer likely infected with CWD will foam at the mouth, have balance issues, drool and their head or ears will hang low. Gibson asks that hunters report any sign of these symptoms so the deer can be tested.

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