Whitetail deer

A herd of whitetail deer graze in a field along U.S. Highway 12 east of Roundup in January.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking six to 12 individuals to serve on a chronic wasting disease citizen advisory panel to provide input on the agency’s management plan for the disease.

Chronic wasting disease has not yet been found in Montana’s wild populations of deer, elk and moose, but as it continues to expand to the north, south and east of the state, Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials believe it is only a matter of time before it reaches the state.

FWP began planning its response should the disease be discovered in Montana in the late 1990s, as well. The response plan has undergone some recent revisions and continues to be updated in preparation of managing CWD in Montana and as biologists learn from other states as they manage the disease in their wild cervid populations.

“Once CWD is discovered in Montana, it will be critical that our response is swift and adequate,” said John Vore, FWP Game Management Bureau chief. 

The panel will lend a citizen’s perspective to FWP in reviewing the science and management of CWD, predicting and anticipating public sentiment, and how to inform the public about potential CWD-oriented management actions.

Participants will review contemporary science, management actions and experience from other states and provinces, and Montana’s current CWD plan and advise FWP on public communications the agency might make.

For those interested in participating in the CWD citizen advisory panel, applications can be found online on the FWP home page, fwp.mt.gov, look under Popular for CWD Citizen Advisory Panel. The application deadline is March 15 and the FWP director will select panelists by March 25. The first meeting will be April 5-6 at the Bozeman FWP regional office. Interested individuals should be willing to travel for up to six one- to two-day meetings in 2017.

For more information contact Vore at 406-444-3940.

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