Chronic wasting disease detected north of Belt

Wildlife health staff with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks detected chronic wasting disease in a mule deer buck recently harvested from hunting district 405 about 10 miles north of the town of Belt, according to FWP.

It’s first time CWD has been detected in this hunting district out of more than 100 deer sampled there over the last three years. FWP has conducted rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and HD 405 is within this year’s priority surveillance area, according to a FWP release.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk, and moose. It is always fatal and there is no known cure.

The disease was first detected in Montana’s wild herds in 2017 and is known to exist in other parts of north-central Montana, especially north of Highway 2, as well as in other areas of the state, according to FWP.

Hunters play a role in CWD management by providing test samples from harvested animals.

FWP has provided resources to help hunters collect and submit samples for free testing on their own. FWP also offers several locations around the state where FWP staff will collect samples for hunters.

CWD is not known to infect humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.

More information on the CDC recommendations, is here.

Here are the CWD sampling stations located in Region 4:

  • Belt: Located at pull-out at the intersection of Highwood Road and State Highway 331, 9 miles north of Belt; Open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to sunset
  • Chester: Located at Lions Park Rest Area; Open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. till dark
  • Fort Benton: Located at pull-out 1 mile west of Fort Benton at the intersection of State Highway 386 and U.S. Highway 87; Open Mondays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Fridays 1 p.m. to sunset
  • Grass Range: Located at pull-out 1/2 mile west of the intersection of U.S.-87/ HWY 200 and HWY 19; Open Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to sunset; Mondays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Fridays noon to sunset (closed Nov. 11)
  • Shelby: Located at I-15 Southbound Weigh Station, 3 miles north of Shelby; Open Saturday to Monday, 10 a.m. to one hour past dark
  • Great Falls: Located at FWP Region 4 Office 4600 Giant Springs Road; Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.