Kalispell, MT — A moose in northwest Montana tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana.
A hunter harvested the bull moose in late October near Pulpit Mountain west of Quartz Creek and north of Troy. The harvest occurred less than half a mile to the west of the existing Libby CWD Management Zone.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks collected the voluntary sample from the moose and submitted it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The lab identified it to be suspected of CWD infection and confirmed the positive detection with a second test.
CWD was first detected in white-tailed deer in the Libby area earlier this year, leading to the creation of the Libby CWD Management Zone. To date, there have been 30 positive detections in deer. Five of those involved deer harvested by hunters during archery and general hunting season. The detections of infected deer have all occurred within the Libby CWD Management Zone, and all but one has been centralized near the city center.
FWP will continue to conduct CWD surveillance through the hunting season and review sample results after the season to potentially update future sampling efforts. FWP encourages hunters to submit animals for testing in areas adjacent to the Libby CWD Management Zone.
CWD is a fatal disease that can affect the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Transmission can most commonly occur through direct contact between cervids, as well as shed in urine, feces, saliva, blood and antler velvet from infected cervids. Carcasses of infected cervids may serve as a source of environmental contamination as well and can infect other cervids that come into contact with that carcass.
There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.
Statewide Sampling Information
If hunters are interested in having their harvested deer, elk or moose tested for CWD, this fall FWP will pay for sampling for hunters who collect their own samples and send them to the FWP lab in Bozeman. Prior to the general season, hunters can collect samples themselves and mail them to the FWP Lab — instructions and a video are available on the FWP website. Starting with the general season, hunters can still submit samples themselves or take the samples or a deer/elk/moose head to regional FWP offices for assistance. Test results are usually available within three weeks. Hunters who harvest an animal that tests positive for CWD may receive a replacement 2019 license.
Hunters are encouraged to check with their preferred game processer to check on any potential CWD-related requirements.
Libby CWD Management Zone Special Regulations
The Libby CWD Management Zone encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone must be checked and sampled within 3 days of harvest. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.
Libby CWD Management Zone Legal Description: 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.
Following the guidelines of Montana’s CWD Management Plan, FWP is scheduling a Special CWD Hunt in the Libby area this fall. FWP sold 600 white-tailed deer antlerless B licenses that can only be used in the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104. The hunt will occur at the same time as the archery and general hunting season and follow the same regulations for dates, weapon restrictions, and access.
Sampling Station and Check Station Information
During general big game season (Oct. 26 to Dec. 1), the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station (Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35) will be open every day from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the Sampling Station if they harvested an animal in the Libby CWD Management Zone. The Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekends from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset during the general season and all hunters, with or without game, passing the check station must stop.
Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill inside the Libby CWD Management Zone. Animals will be tagged with a unique identification number. Hunters can use that identification number to look up test results on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. Test results are usually available within three weeks. Hunters who harvest an animal that tests positive for CWD may receive a replacement 2019 license.
To reduce the spread of CWD, whole carcasses, whole heads or spinal columns cannot be taken out of the Libby CWD Management Zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD. Hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of hides, bones and trimmings at approved landfills such as the such as the Lincoln County Landfill. The spinal column may be left at the kill site but require landowner permission if on private land. If the carcass is processed within the CWD Management Zone, any brain and spinal parts must be discarded in the Lincoln County Landfill.