Licenses for a special chronic wasting disease hunt in north central Montana sold out in less than four hours on Tuesday.
The 335 deer B licenses went on sale at 5 a.m. and were all gone by 8:41 a.m., according to a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Facebook post. The 60 either-sex licenses offered reportedly sold out in less than five minutes.
This is the second special hunt being offered by FWP this winter to sample for the prevalence of CWD. The first, being held in south central Montana's Carbon County, began on Dec. 15.
So far, that hunt has resulted in the killing of 117 mule deer and 55 whitetails for a total harvest of 172. Between Dec. 19 and 25 alone, eight male and 36 doe mule deer were killed for a total of 44, and nine whitetail bucks and 12 does for a total of 21 were shot. The total harvest quota for the Bridger hunt is 200 deer of each species. That means hunters can fill 83 more mule deer tags and 145 more whitetail tags before the quotas are filled.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Sage Creek Special Chronic Wasting Disease hunt north of Chester last week.
The hunt, which will take place mostly on private land, will be stopped when FWP meets its harvest goal of 135 mule deer. The opening day is Jan. 6 with a closing date of Feb. 15.
Each hunter who participates in the Sage Creek Special CWD Hunt should go online and obtain the hunt packet, which includes a map and rules for the hunt. These can be found online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD or at the FWP office in Havre, the check station at the Sage Creek Hutterite Colony or at the FWP Region 4 office in Great Falls. All successful hunters must have their animal sampled either at the check station, which is open from 10 a.m. to one hour after sunset, or at the FWP Havre office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week.
CWD was found this fall in a mule deer buck harvested in Hunting District 401, which borders Canada.
The Sage Creek hunt area is about 226 square miles in size and just east of the Sweet Grass Hills. It abuts the Canadian border.
Hunters, like always, will need permission to hunt on private lands. Though this hunt is different in many ways from the general season, the same regulations regarding hunter behavior apply. This includes things like: don’t shoot from roads or vehicles, ensure you’re certain of your target before pulling the trigger and make sure you validate your license before removing the harvested animal from the field. If hunters see illegal activity, please call 1-800 TIPMONT.
CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that effects deer, elk and moose. It is not known to infect humans. The Centers for Disease Control recommends not consuming animals that test positive for CWD. The CDC also recommends getting deer, elk or moose from CWD positive areas tested prior to consumption.
All animals harvested in the hunt must be submitted for sampling.