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CWD Management Hunt To Open In Portion Of Lower Ruby Valley

Hunt runs from Dec. 15 through Feb. 15

TWIN BRIDGES – A chronic wasting disease (CWD) management hunt will be held for all white-tailed deer and antlerless mule deer in a portion of Hunting District 322 in the lower Ruby Valley.

The hunt will run from Dec. 15 through Feb. 15. Valid licenses, which will be available for purchase during the hunt, will include:

  • General deer license: valid for antlerless mule deer or either sex white-tailed deer

  • 003-00 white-tailed deer B license: valid for either sex white-tailed deer

  • 399-00 white-tailed deer B license: valid for either sex white-tailed deer

The area of the hunt is known to have a high prevalence of CWD. The goals of the management hunt are to reduce the white-tailed deer population and to increase the CWD test sample size from a localized herd of mule deer to improve the accuracy of prevalence estimates.

CWD is a fatal, contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. CWD surveillance across southwest Montana over the past three years, including broad CWD management hunts, continues to illustrate a localized area of high prevalence among deer in the lower Ruby Valley, surrounded by an area of low prevalence.

So far this season, CWD has been found in 71 percent of white-tailed does, 73 percent of white-tailed bucks and five of 10 adult mule deer harvested within the management hunt area.

The management hunt area includes almost exclusively private lands south of Twin Bridges along the Beaverhead and Ruby rivers. A map of the hunt area can be downloaded here: Southwest Montana CWD Hunt Area 2023-24.

As always, landowner permission is required before hunting on private lands. The relatively small hunt area will limit the number of hunters who can participate. All other 2023 hunting regulations apply, including regulations on carcass disposal. Information on proper carcass disposal can be found online at

Due to high CWD prevalence in this area, FWP recommends that hunters have their harvested animals tested. Some participating ranches will require testing as a condition of hunting. FWP pays for the testing, making it free for hunters. FWP has provided resources to help hunters collect and submit samples for testing on their own. These resources can be found online at Hunters can also call a regional FWP office to schedule an appointment if they need help collecting a CWD sample.

CWD was first detected in Montana’s wild cervids in 2017. It has since been detected widely along Montana’s northern and southern borders. CWD was first detected among white-tailed deer in the Ruby Valley in 2019 and is now known to occur in the Ruby, Beaverhead, Big Hole and Jefferson watersheds.

CWD is not known to infect humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist. For more information on CDC recommendations, please visit

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