The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved a CWD management hunt in several hunting districts throughout southwest Montana.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal, and there is no known cure. It was first found in Montana in 2017.

In a meeting last week, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve a CWD management hunt for white-tailed deer in several of southwest Montana's hunting districts.

From December 15 through February 15, unused 2020 general deer licenses will remain valid for either-sex white-tailed deer harvest, and unused 2020 003-00, 331-00 and 399-00 deer B licenses will remain valid for antlerless white-tailed deer harvest within the CWD management hunt area. Now that the general deer hunting season has ended, no additional licenses can be purchased, except the 003-00 deer B license, which will be sold until January 15, 2021.

Here is a map of the white-tailed deer CWD hunt area.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

The primary goal of the CWD management hunt is to reduce the number of white-tailed deer in these areas in order to slow the spread of CWD among white-tailed deer and to mule deer, elk, and moose. FWP also hopes to further improve understanding of CWD distribution and prevalence through continued testing of hunter-harvested deer.

Hunters play a significant role in FWP’s management efforts for CWD. By late November, FWP’s surveillance of hunter-harvested white-tailed deer in southwest Montana found prevalence levels ranging from 8.3 percent in HD 320 to as much as 50 percent in a localized portion of HD 322, where about 2,000 white-tailed deer are routinely counted in spring.

For more information on the CWD Management Hunt, click here.

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