Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks look to crack down on Chronic Wasting Disease

Photo courtesy Montana FWP Facebook

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Officials at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks look to stop the statewide spread of Chronic Wasting Disease for the 2021 big game season with new hunting measures in place.

In February, the Fish and Wildlife commission approved new restrictions limiting the transportation of deer, elk and moose carcasses statewide and FWP will continue CWD surveillance in specific areas known as Priority Surveillance Areas in northwestern, northcentral, southwestern, and southcentral Montana.

In 2021, carcass parts, such as brain, eyes, spleen, lymph glands, and spinal cord material, should be left at the kill site. 

Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. The new requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses wherever in the state they are harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage. 

Dumping carcasses in other places is illegal and can accelerate the spread of CWD.

If the animal is transported for taxidermy or meat processing, then the brain and spinal tissue must be bagged and disposed of in a class II landfill.

A carcass may be within the state regardless of where it was harvested if the carcass parts are disposed of in a landfill after butchering and processing.

You can find a map here of this year's priority surveillance areas. Sample submission is voluntary throughout Montana.

If hunters want their harvested animal sampled, they can submit samples themselves by following steps on the Montana CWD Submission Guide or by visiting a CWD Sampling Station.

Montana FWP Region 3 Information & Education Program Manager Morgan Jacobsen said collecting CWD samples during the archery season is an option, but many of their off-site sampling stations won't be up and running until the rifle season.

If someone needs help collecting a sample from an animal they harvested during the archery season (deer, elk or moose), they should call a regional headquarters office of FWP to schedule an appointment.

Report sick-looking deer, elk or moose. If you shoot an animal that looks diseased or sick, report it immediately to your local FWP office and avoid handling it.

For instructions on how or where to submit a sample, you can visit FWP's Chronic Wasting Disease page here.

You can find all dates on when archery and rifle seasons start for certain animals here.

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