Montanans who plan to travel out-of-state or to Canada to hunt deer, elk and moose should know that it is now illegal to bring heads and spinal cords from those harvested game animals back with them from a state that is known to have chronic wasting disease in either wild animals or game farm animals. Bring home only:
• meat that is boned, cut and wrapped; or quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
• hides with no heads attached
• clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached
• antlers with no meat or tissue attached
• upper canine teeth, also known as “buglers”, “whistlers” or “ivories”
• finished head, partial body or whole body mounts already prepared by a taxidermist
States or Provinces where CWD is confirmed in wild deer, elk or moose include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada.
CWD has been found only in privately owned deer or elk in Montana, Oklahoma, and Minnesota, Missouri and Michigan. Because CWD was detected in privately owned elk in Montana, some states or provinces have carcass-import regulations that residents of those states harvesting animals in Montana must follow when transporting game back home.
In addition, all Montana hunters and meat processors are asked to properly dispose of waste carcass parts, including heads and spinal columns, from all harvested deer, elk, or moose by sealing them in plastic bags and depositing them in a waste facility known to transport waste to a sanitary landfill. These measures are intended to prevent the introduction of CWD to Montana, or the spread of CWD if it is found in Montana.
CWD is a rare brain disease that causes infected deer, elk and moose to lose weight and body functions, behave abnormally and eventually die. The ailment belongs to a family of diseases that include mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans.