One more mule deer killed in Montana’s first chronic wasting disease hunt has tested positive for exposure to the disease.
Lab results from the last 215 mule deer harvested have been processed. The mule deer hunt closed on Jan. 7.
The special hunt in Carbon County for whitetail deer is continuing, although as of Monday 115 out of the 200 deer quota had been filled. That hunt will close either when the quota is filled or by Feb. 15.
During the 2017 general deer hunting season, FWP sampled about 1,300 deer harvested in south-central Montana. The laboratory found that six of those deer — five mule deer and one white-tailed deer, all shot in Carbon County — tested positive for exposure to CWD. That prompted the special hunt.
Laboratory results from the first four days of the season — Dec. 15-18 — showed that two mule deer had been exposed to CWD. An adult buck harvested northwest of Warren and a female mule deer fawn harvested northeast of Belfry returned positive lab results.
Then on Thursday, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported one more positive test result from an adult doe that was shot on private land northeast of Belfry, close to where one of the earlier positives came from. That brings the total number of positives in the county to nine animals.
FWP has not yet calculated a prevalence rate for the disease based on the testing, that won’t happen until the whitetail hunt closes and all tissue samples are tested. But the incidence of CWD appears to be low, which is good news.
No new positive CWD test results have occurred in Liberty County, in north-central Montana, in a similar special CWD hunt. That hunt started on Jan. 6. So far 94 of that area’s 157 deer quota have been killed.
All hunters are required to report the area where they killed their deer. FWP’s Bob Gibson said the agency seems to have gotten a pretty good dispersal of the harvest around Carbon County.
With the quota nearly full, FWP has set new operating hours for its chronic wasting disease check station at Joliet. The new hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.