Sixth Deer Suspected Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Libby

Public meetings scheduled; special hunting licenses on sale Aug. 19

By Beacon Staff
White-tailed deer at the National Bison Range in Moiese. Beacon File Photo

A sample from another white-tailed deer in Libby is suspected to be positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).

If confirmed, it would mark the sixth detection of CWD in Libby. The first detection occurred in late May and was the first time CWD had been detected in the wild west of the Continental Divide. The positive detections have all involved white-tailed deer.

FWP was notified Aug. 7 of the latest 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.

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. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose.

FWP is hosting upcoming public information meetings about CWD in Libby on Aug. 16 and Aug. 28, Eureka on Aug. 19, Polson on Aug. 21, Trout Creek on Aug. 22, and Kalispell on Aug. 26 and Sept. 11.

In response to the detections, FWP has established the Libby CWD Management Zone, which encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. Within the 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. Licenses for the special hunt will go on sale at 8 a.m. on Aug. 19 at select license providers. 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.

Click here for more information about the hunt, including where to purchase licenses.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.