Tester Working to Combat the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease with Legislation

Senator’s Bill Praised by Montana Hunters

(U.S. Senate)-After deer in Montana tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation to fight the spread of the disease that is threatening big game herds across the west.

Tester’s Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act will provide immediate resources to wildlife management agencies to stop the spread of the spread of the disease.

“The spread of Chronic Wasting Disease puts our outdoor economy and Montana way of life at risk,” Tester said. “This bill will give state and tribal agencies access to the resources they need to combat this disease before it permanently diminishes our big-game herds and limits our ability to hunt.”

Chronic Wasting Disease has been prevalent in 24 states across the country, infecting white-tail and mule deer, elk, and moose-including in multiple states that border Montana.

Tester’s bill will authorize $35 million to help state and tribal wildlife management agencies stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease by allowing states and tribes to develop and implement management plans, and establish a rapid response for newly infected areas. The bill also authorizes $25 million to create new research grants to better understand the disease.

Montana’s outdoor leaders praised Tester for his persistent leadership addressing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

“Chonic Wasting Disease is a threat to Montana’s big game, our hunting opportunity, and ultimately our outdoor economy,” said Dave Chadwick, Executive Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation. “Senator Tester’s bill will marshal the resources that our wildlife managers need to fully understand this disease and rapidly respond to outbreaks.”

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognizes Senator Tester for his continued leadership on the issue of chronic wasting disease,” said R. Kyle Weaver, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “His bill provides critical funding to state wildlife agencies and tribes to develop prevention and management plans in responding to Choric Wasting Disease outbreaks in deer and elk. It also provides significant funding to research institutions trying to develop courses of action for Chronic Wasting Disease testing and prevention. It is vitally important for Congress to take quick action on this bill to ensure state wildlife agencies and research institutions have the resources they need to respond to this spreading issue.”

“This legislation will provide wildlife management agencies with much needed resources to stop the spread of this horrible disease,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We must combat chronic wasting disease to protect our hunting traditions and outdoor recreation economy. We want to thank Senator Tester for his leadership on this issue and urge strong bipartisan support for this bill.”

Of the 26 identified cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in Montana, 21 have been along the Montana-Wyoming border and five along the Hi-Line near Canada.

In Wyoming, there was nearly 4,000 identified cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in 2018 and the disease is infecting 16 percent of the male deer, elk, and moose in Colorado.

Before the recent infection of Montana deer in 2017, Montana was Chronic Wasting Disease free for nearly 20 years.

Hunting is a major component of Montana’s outdoor economy, which sustains more than 70,000 jobs and generates $7.1 billion in economic activity annually.