From the New York Times comes this article about what the states, especially Montana, are doing to combat deer family CWD . . .
As darkness closed in, one hunter after another stopped at this newly opened game check station, deer carcasses loaded in the beds of their pickups.
They had been given licenses for a special hunt, and others would follow. Jessica Goosmann, a wildlife technician with Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department, stepped outside to greet them, reaching for the neck of each freshly killed deer to cut an incision and remove a lymph node for testing.
On the edge of this south-central Montana village, where deer hunting is a way of life, the game check station has become the front line of the state’s efforts to stop the spread of a deadly infection known as chronic wasting disease.
Here’s a good, balanced discussion of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) among Montana’s deer and elk population and the influence of Wyoming’s elk feedlots . . .
Last week the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission asked Wyoming to stop feeding elk during the winter on the feeding grounds in the northwest part of that state. There are more than 20 Wyoming feeding grounds, some at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, the rest in counties south of the refuge.
The commission’s letter was sparked by the discovery this fall of Chronic Wasting Disease in Montana deer just north of the Wyoming border in hunt units south of Bridger. The disease has infected both mule and white-tailed deer. CWD has since been detected in a mule deer buck killed just south of the Canadian border north of Chester. Since CWD is present in Canadian provinces north of us — Alberta and Saskatchewan — it’s probable the disease has been migrating into Montana across both borders, as well as from the east, where CWD was previously confirmed in the Dakotas.
As far as CWD goes, the commission’s letter probably arrives too late. The disease is in Montana, maybe it’s been here for some time, and evidence from other states suggests eradication is unlikely. The feeding grounds are, or will become, CWD hot spots, but eliminating them now won’t do much to slow the inevitable spread of the disease across Montana.
As mentioned here a couple of days ago, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD – think of it as mad cow for the deer family) is starting to show up in Montana. A good argument can be made that Wyoming’s elk feedlots aid the spread of this disease . . .
Montana wildlife officials are asking their Wyoming counterparts to stop feeding elk after chronic wasting disease has appeared in the state.
Jackson Hole News and Guide reports the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission sent a letter last week to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, saying their elk feeding practices could accelerate the spread of the fatal, contagious disease.
The Montana letter says officials respect how Wyoming handles its affairs, but management of the disease in Montana is affected by what happens in the neighboring state.