A sample from another white-tailed deer in Libby is suspected to be positive for chronic wasting disease.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks was notified Aug. 7 of the suspect sample from a road-killed doe collected along U.S. Highway 2 near Flower Creek.
The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado identified the sample to be suspected of CWD infection and will run a second test for confirmation.
If confirmed, the new result marks the sixth detection of CWD in Libby. The first detection, which occurred in late May, marked the first time CWD was detected west of the Continental Divide in the wild. The positive detections have all involved white-tailed deer.
Through Aug. 7, FWP has submitted 66 samples (59 white-tailed deer, six mule deer, and one moose) of road-killed and symptomatic animals for CWD testing.
FWP is hosting upcoming public information meetings about CWD in Libby (Aug. 16 & Aug. 28), Eureka (Aug. 19), Polson (Aug. 21), Trout Creek (Aug. 22), and Kalispell (Aug. 26 & Sept. 11). See below for more information.
In response to the CWD detections, FWP has established the Libby CWD Management Zone, which encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites (see below). Within this Management Zone, the goal is to identify the prevalence and distribution of CWD.
Following the guidelines of Montana’s CWD Management Plan, FWP is scheduling a Special CWD Hunt in the Libby area this fall. FWP will sell 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.
The Special CWD B licenses will go on sale at 8 a.m., Aug. 19, at select license providers (see below list). At 10 a.m., licenses will become available for purchase online at fwp.mt.gov. Hunters can purchase up to two Special CWD B licenses.
All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone, including any harvested with a Libby Special CWD Hunt B license and any harvested with any other type of license, must be checked and sampled within 3 days of harvest.
Animals can be checked at either the new Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station (Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35) or the Canoe Gulch Check Station.
Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.
Before Oct. 26, hunters who successfully harvest an animal are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office, 385 Fish Hatchery Rd. A collection site will be set up for hunters to self-report and submit the head for testing.
During general big game season (Oct. 26 to Dec. 1), the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station 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.
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. 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 10-14 days. 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. If the carcass is processed within the CWD Management Zone, any brain and spinal parts must be discarded in the Lincoln County Landfill.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. 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.
For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
CWD Public Information Meetings in Northwest Montana
Friday, Aug. 16 – Libby, Ponderosa Room, City Hall, 952 East Spruce St., Noon
Monday, Aug. 19 – Eureka, Glacier Bank, 222 Dewey Ave, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Polson, Kwataqnuk Resort, 49708 US 93, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 22 – Trout Creek, Lakeside Resort, 2955 Montana Hwy. 200, 6 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 26 – Kalispell, FWP Region 1 Office, 490 N. Meridian, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 28 – Libby, Ponderosa Room, City Hall, 952 East Spruce St., 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 – Kalispell, FWP Region 1 Office (in conjunction with Flathead Wildlife, Inc., 7 p.m.)