With hunting season upon us Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks is upping their chronic wasting disease surveillance efforts with the help of hunters.
Hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in these areas should stop at a local CWD-sampling check station to have the animal sampled. FWP staff will collect samples and submit them for testing.
But as of Tuesday hunters in non CWD confirmed areas across Montana can now collect and submit their own samples and send them to the FWP lab in Bozeman to be tested with FWP paying for it.
Here are the steps Fish, Wildlifem and Parks are asking hunters to follow:
- Remove the retropharyngeal lymph nodes, located in the animal’s throat area. A video is available on the FWP website that demonstrates the process (look under “Submitting Your Own Sample”).
- Fill out a Hunter Harvest Submission Form, which is available on the FWP website, and include a phone number and email address so FWP can send a unique CWD number. This CWD number is what hunters will use to look up test results online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. Be sure to record the location of harvest as accurately as possible. Samples without location information will not be tested.
- Put the lymph nodes in resealable bag, double bag the sample, and wrap the bag in a paper towel.
- Put the filled-out submission form in a separate resealable bag so it doesn’t get wet and include it with the sample. If you are sending samples from more than one animal fill out a separate submission form for each animal and make sure that each form is with the correct sample in a sealed bag.
- Place the bagged samples, an ice pack, and the bagged submission form(s) in a small box or shipping envelope and send via your choice of postal carrier. FWP recommends using a carrier that offers tracking and can deliver samples within 24-48 hours to prevent the samples from rotting. Please try to ship samples on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of each week, and avoid shipping on holidays, to prevent the samples from sitting over the weekend.
- Send to:
- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, ATTN: Wildlife Health Lab (CWD), 1400 S. 19th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59718
- Test results will take about three weeks to process and post.
Check stations will not be set up during archery season, which began Sept. 7. For animals harvested during the archery season in one of our 2019 Priority Sampling Areas:
· Hunters can remove their own samples and bring them to a regional office for collection/submission
· If within the Northern Zone they can bring their carcass to Havre or Glasgow. If within the Southern Zone, hunters must collect their own samples and submit them to the Wildlife Health Lab in Bozeman, as described above.
· Head collection barrels and a submission kiosk will be set up at the FWP Office in Libby during the archery season
For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
There will be Special CWD Hunts occurring during the general hunting season around Libby and in the southeast portion of hunting district 400. All animals taken in these Special CWD Hunt areas must be sampled. Visit FWP.mt.gov for details.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive, always fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. There is no known case of CWD affecting people, pets, livestock or wildlife outside the deer family. But the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Preventsion recommend not consuming meat from an animal known to be infected with CWD.