Montana to ramp up testing for chronic wasting disease

A herd is being grown in southeast Missouri after elk were reintroduced at Peck Ranch Conservation Area in 2011. But the elk shot recently was 200 miles away from the Peck Ranch herd, between Hallsville and Centralia.

MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana is bolstering its efforts this hunting season to watch for a fatal wildlife disease that has been making its way to the state.

Big game hunting season opened over the weekend, and according to a news release, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will be setting up check stations around the state to collect lymph node samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk to check for chronic wasting disease.

The disease is a fatal neurological condition that affects elk, deer and moose. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks also is collecting samples from road-killed animals.

The disease is caused by infectious proteins which result in organ damage and eventual death.

The department plans to rotate surveillance efforts among several priority areas of the state: South central, southeast and north central and northeast.

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