As the Bridger special hunt to assess the spread of chronic wasting disease continues, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking hunters to remember the rules.
“For the most part hunters have conducted themselves ethically for this hunt,” said Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor. “However, we’ve had a few concerns and we want to make sure hunters understand our expectations.”
Know the hunt rules and regulations: The CWD hunt is only valid for a specific area delineated on a map available with the hunt packet online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. Hunters should all have the hunt packet when they’re out in the field. Additionally, the hunt packet includes the rules for the hunt. It is the hunter's responsibility to know the rules and regulations. This includes knowing rules for hunting and access at all FWP fishing access sites and other public lands.
Hunt ethically and responsibly: Know your target, and what’s behind it, before you shoot. Make sure you have a clean and ethical shot to ensure a quick and efficient kill. Don’t shoot from roads. Ethical hunting ensures the future of hunting for everyone.
Ask first to hunt private lands: The goal of the special hunt is to determine prevalence of CWD within the hunt area. To do this FWP needs adequate samples. To achieve this goal, the agency needs the help and cooperation of hunters and landowners. Unethical hunters can lead to limited opportunities on private land for ethical hunters. If you see illegal behavior call 1-800 TIPMONT to report it.
The Bridger Special CWD Hunt is ongoing south of Laurel. CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that effects deer, elk and moose. It was first found in wild deer in Montana this fall during the focused CWD surveillance in south central Montana.
So far six deer — four mule deer bucks, one mule deer doe and one white-tailed doe — have tested positive for CWD within the hunt area.
Additionally, FWP has established a transport restriction zone, or TRZ, to limit the possibility of CWD positive carcasses moving outside the general area of the hunt. The TRZ will include Yellowstone and Carbon counties. Whole carcasses, heads and spinal columns will not be allowed outside the TRZ. Hunters must bone out their deer, quarter it taking only the leg bones, or have it processed prior to removing it from the TRZ. Spinal columns and carcass parts may be left at the site of the kill if allowed by the landowner.
Carcass parts that may be removed from the TRZ include:
- Meat that is cut and wrapped or meat that has been separated from the bone.
- Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
- Hides with no heads attached
- Skull plates or antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
- Skulls that have been boiled and cleaned to remove flesh and tissue.
For more information, go online to fwp.mt.gov/CWD.