Deer hunters asked to track wasting disease

Mule deer buck

A fatal disease has been found in a deer in north central Montana, marking the second region to have an occurrence of chronic wasting disease since it first emerged in the state this fall.

"Several thousand additional samples are awaiting testing by Michigan State University, so numbers for this deer season could still change", according to a DNR news release.

Five deer from Meridian Township tested positive from 2015 to 2016 in Ingham County; there were no confirmed cases in 2017.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive.

Antlerless deer can be tagged using the deer or deer combo licenses during firearm, muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons.

The DNR strongly recommends hunters who harvest deer in Clinton, Ingham, Kent or Montcalm counties have their deer tested by bringing them to a deer check station.

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Chronic wasting disease can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals.

The state Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to bring their deer to check stations.

So far in 2017, a single CWD suspect has been identified in Westphalia Township, also in Clinton County.

In Montcalm County, a total of 17 deer from the following townships are suspected or confirmed to be positive for CWD: Cato, Douglass, Fairplain, Maple Valley, Montcalm, Pine, Reynolds, Sidney and Winfield.

Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, though the disease exists in wild deer herds in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta. TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal's body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.

The deadly disease was found in a deer shot on November 12 in hunting district 401 in Liberty County near the Canadian border.

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