Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Montana continues to provide an excellent opportunity for deer hunting. During the latter part of last season, news broke that CWD had finally made its way into Montana. FWP confirmed CWD cases in multiple deer from two different regions of the state. The majority of observations occurred near the Belfry area in southeastern Montana. Another case was confirmed in northcentral Montana. In response, FWP authorized special hunting seasons with a limited quota in both areas. You may have heard—the buck permits for these hunts sold out in minutes. The season in southeastern Montana closed within weeks of opening, and it would have been faster if the hunt had not started in the days right before Christmas. FWP gathered brain samples from all of the deer harvested and hopes to ascertain how widespread CWD has become in Montana. Fortunately, FWP had developed a management plan in anticipation of the eventual spread of the disease. CWD does not pose an immediate threat as it is slow spreading. However, once contracted, it is 100% fatal. CWD has been present on all sides of Montana for some time now. The major concern is the disease’s potential to decrease the overall deer population in the future. The spread of CWD is difficult to halt. We can only hope FWP is up to the task of at least slowing it down.