Hunters checked in 50 mule deer the opening weekend of the Sage Creek special chronic wasting disease hunt in northern Liberty County, according to Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Total mule deer brought in for sampling numbered 37 does and 13 bucks.
The hunt will run until Feb. 15 or a 157-deer quota is reached.
The special hunt is designed to gather information about the distribution and prevalence of CWD in deer in an area of Liberty County where a mule deer taken during the 2017 general big game season tested positive for CWD.
Hunters are required to submit their harvested deer at either the FWP office in Havre or a department check station at the rest stop on U.S. Highway 2 in Chester, 314 E. Washington Ave.
A check station was set up in northern Liberty County for the hunt’s opener, Jan. 6, but has been moved to Chester for easier hunter and FWP accessibility.
CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. It has been present for some years in states and Canadian provinces north, east and south of Montana, but was first found in wild deer in the state this fall.
Results of testing on small tissue samples taken from harvested deer are expected in two to three weeks.
CWD has not been shown to spread to people, pets, livestock or wildlife outside of the deer family. However, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend not consuming meat from an animal known to be infected with CWD.
More information about CWD and the special hunt is available online to http://fwp.mt.gov/cwd.