Hunt begins for chronic wasting disease - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Hunt begins for chronic wasting disease

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This year's special hunt season is now underway. 

Fish, Wildlife and Parks are requiring all hunters to bring their game to the center to test for chronic wasting disease.

"So we're having hunters during this special hunt harvest two hundred mule deer and two hundred white tail deer and those will be tested," said Information and Education Manager Bob Gibson. "All of those will be tested and then it'll give us some statistically valid information about where the disease is and what percentage of the herd has it."

Gibson says this hunting season will be a good indicator to determine the disease's prevalence and surveillance in Montana.

Samples extracted from the kills are sent to Colorado State University once a week.

Gibson says they will specifically test for the distribution of chronic wasting disease in deer within Carbon County. 

"Every time that someone brings an animal in and gets it tested, we give them a little business card with a serial number on it, " Gibson adds. "It's got a website on there and people can go on that website and look up their serial number, and see if it tested negative, positive or still in the test phase."

Gibson says he wants hunters to take every precaution. 

"Chronic wasting disease has never spread, that we know of that science knows of from cervids which is deer, elk, moose and caribou to any other species, not to pets, not to people, not to livestock," said Gibson. "But the Center for Disease Control says if a deer tests positive for chronic wasting disease, to not consume it."

Gibson said this hunt is the first indicator for how they will handle chronic wasting disease in Montana and how they will contain it.