Montana has released information regarding this year’s new CWD Management Zones. Montana has also updated its Priority Sampling Areas.
Priority Sampling Areas are different than CWD management zones. However, both may overlap on the same GMU. Below we will give information on the differences between the two management strategies. Firstly, we will start with the CWD Management Zones.
CWD Management Zones
- CWD Management Zones are areas where CWD is known to exist.
- To prevent the spread of CWD from infected areas of Montana to other parts of the state, hunters should not remove any part of a harvested animal from a CWD Management Zone without it being tested first.
- If the animal is not tested, the whole carcass, whole head, brain, or spinal column from any deer, elk, or moose harvested within a CWD Management Zone CANNOT be removed from that Management Zone.
- The parts listed above should be bagged and disposed of in a landfill or may be left at the kill site on public lands and with landowner permission on private lands.
- Animal parts that CAN be removed are as follows, meat that is cut and wrapped or separated from the bone, quarters, or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
- Likewise, skull plates, antlers, or clean skulls with no meat or tissue attached and mounted trophies can be removed from the Management Zones.
- The southern Montana Zones include portions of the following GMUs: 500, 502, 510, 520, 575, 590, and 704.
- The northeastern Montana Zones include all of the following GMUs: 400, 401, 600, 611, 630, 640, 641, 670, and 690.
- The northwestern Montana Zones include portions of the following GMUs: 100, 103, and 104.
Priority Sampling Areas
- Priority Sampling Areas are areas at the highest risk of becoming infected through the natural spread of CWD.
- Hunters who stop at check stations in a sampling area may be asked if their animal can be tested.
- Sampling Areas can overlap CWD Management zones.
- Hunters in Priority Sampling Areas should look for and report any sick-looking deer, elk, or moose to FWP.
- The southern Sampling Areas include portions of the following GMUs: 702, 704, 705.
- The northeastern Samplings Areas include all of the following GMUs: 400, 401, 600, 611, 630, 640, 641, 670, and 690.
- The northwestern Sampling Areas include portions of the following GMUs: 100, 103, 104, 210, 212, and 214.
As CWD counties to expand throughout the country, states have to change their management strategies. Hunting in CWD affected areas can still be enjoyable. Montana Game and Fish Officials just ask that you take a few precautions.
- Avoid consuming the brain, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes of harvested animals.
- Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing your deer.
- Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
- Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.