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FWP reports first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in Gallatin County

White-tailed buck was reported near Springhill Road in Bozeman
Posted at 10:58 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 15:49:05-04

GALLATIN COUNTY — Chronic wasting disease is not new to the state of Montana, it has been around since 2017.

But FWP reported late last week that a white-tailed deer buck did confirm positive for the fatal disease, making it the first confirmed case of CWD in the Gallatin Valley.

“We knew chronic wasting disease was on the way to this part of the state. Really we’ve seen it kind of move its way to the interior of the state,” said Morgan Jacobsen FWP Information and Education Manager for Region 3.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD is a fatal neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose.

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It’s something that FWP takes very seriously because it affects the health of the state’s wildlife herds, and has a wide-spread effect.

“It has the potential to impact the wildlife here in Montana, the recreation opportunities that come with that and other factors,” said Jacobsen.

The deer in Gallatin County was reported by residents near the Springhill area in Bozeman showing common symptoms of the disease: limited mobility, wide posture, droopy head and ears and salivating.

“We went out, euthanized the animal, tested it for chronic wasting disease and came back positive.”

The state is working to manage the disease, and is asking for the public’s help. If you see a deer, elk or moose displaying classic symptoms, call FWP to report the animal.

“The way Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks manages chronic wasting disease involves a lot of participation and input and cooperation from the public of Montana,” said Jacobsen.

And the newly confirmed case may have an impact on hunters in the area as well.

“CWD is a reality, people who hunt should be aware that there may be other restrictions in how they handle their carcass and how they process their game, how they transport it and how they dispose of it.”

FWP say one symptom they’re NOT looking for is if a deer appears skinny and frail.

They say that’s common for deer this time of the year, and does not need to be reported.