Written by The Herald-News
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking comment on an update of the state's action plan to manage chronic wasting disease should it ever occur in Montana wildlife.
The draft environmental assessment evaluates a rewrite of FWP's CWD management plan that's been in place since 2005.
CWD is an always fatal disease of the central nervous system of captive and free-ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, and elk. The ailment belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalapathies that are not fully understood.
Over the past 15 years, FWP has tested more than 17,000 wild elk, moose and deer in Montana for CWD and has not yet found any evidence of it.
The two primary changes to the plan include the removal of "depopulation" of wildlife herds as a management option and the addition of risk management responses if CWD is ever detected.
The update reflects research and management lessons learned from other areas already infected with CWD in wildlife. FWP hasn't selected a preferred alternative and will evaluate public comments prior to making a final decision.
CWD has been found in free-ranging deer in 18 states, including Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. It's also been found in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Comments on EA must be received by 5 p.m. Dec. 13. Comment via FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov . Click "Hunting". Or mail to: FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. For more information, call: 406-444-7722.