EVENT RECAP: CWD Sampling Clinic with FWP in Flathead Valley

On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers partnered with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks for a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling clinic at the Region 1 Headquarters in Kalispell.FWP_CWD-3150.jpg

FWP region 1 CWD Supervisor Lindsey Walden demonstrates how hunters can submit their own samples using FWP’s online system. 


The event, which was free to the public, featured a hands-on demonstration by FWP Regional CWD Supervisor Lindsey Walden on how to remove lymph nodes for sampling in the field, as well as how to navigate the FWP online hunter submission form. The form can be found here. Lindsey demonstrated how to remove the lymph nodes, then hunters were provided with a deer head to practice on their own under supervision from FWP staff.

FWP_CWD-3183.jpgLindsey shows where to make the first incision on a deer. This can be found by running your fingers from the center of the jaw down the neck until you feel a bump much like an Adam’s apple. From there cut across until you reach the spinal column with your knife.


Region 1 Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson was on hand to lead a discussion about the current state of CWD in the Flathead Valley. The CWD epicenter in Region 1 is currently around Libby. In 2019, FWP added a 199-20 B tag as part of an effort to reduce herd density around Libby to help prevent the spread of the disease.

FWP_CWD-3226.jpgNeil Anderson, Wildlife Manager for FWP’s Region 1 helps a group in finding the lymph nodes in their sample deer.


It is currently illegal to dump carcasses in the state of Montana, and successful hunters are encouraged to leave brain material, eyes, spleen, lymph nodes, and spinal cord material at the kill site if possible. If not, it must be bagged and disposed of properly in a landfill.

FWP_CWD-3206.jpgExtracted lymph node ready to be bagged to sent off to the lab in Bozeman for testing.


Montana BHA appreciates the opportunity to engage with hunters on disease prevention in our cervid populations and thanks Montana FWP for hosting this clinic. Hunters are the best line of defense to reduce CWD and we encourage every hunter to get their animals tested to provide biologists with the best data as we address this growing issue in Montana. 

FWP_CWD-3231.jpgBagged samples ready to be mailed to the lab in Bozeman for testing. CWD is present in some areas of region 1, and hunters providing samples for testing will help FWP track the prevalence of the disease and manage its spread.


To learn more about CWD and how to effectively remove lymph nodes for testing, please visit your local FWP office or watch this video.


All photos courtesy of Flathead Regional Chapter Leader Aaron Agosto.


About Aaron Agosto

Carpenter. Hunter. Fly fisher. Montanan.

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