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Wasting Disease Found In Yellowstone County

Montana officials are expanding restrictions on the transport of big game animals to prevent the spread of a fatal disease.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the move Wednesday after a deer killed near Huntley, northeast of Billings, tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

State wildlife workers killed the two-year-old buck after it showed signs of infection.

CWD had previously shown up along the Canadian border and was first noticed in Montana, south of Billings, two years ago.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Bob Gibson says this is the farthest CWD has been found in Montana.

“It spreads a little bit all of the time. Geographically, it spreads slowly, so we know that it’s spreading northward and this is the first confirmation of that,” Gibson says.

Gibson says they’re expanding the CWD management zone to take that into account. The limitation applies to deer, elk or moose in Yellowstone County and a portion of Big Horn County.

That means hunters should leave the brain, head and spine in the restricted area so that CWD doesn’t spread any further. Hunters are also advised to have harvested animals tested and not to consume the meat if it’s positive for the disease.

Copyright 2019 Yellowstone Public Radio

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.
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