Sean Wells

KALISPELL (KPAX) - The general big game hunting season in Montana ended on Sunday with more than 9,200 hunters appearing at four check stations in Northwest Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Regional Manager Neil Anderson said overall harvested elk numbers were slightly up across the region. But mule and white-tailed deer harvests were slightly down in Northwest Montana compared to the last few years.

Anderson said final harvest numbers won’t be counted until harvest surveys are completed over the next couple of months.

Anderson said an encouraging note is the overall decrease of positive chronic wasting disease (CWD) samples in Northwest Montana this season, particularly in the Libby area.

CWD is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that infects members of the deer family, such as mule and white-tailed deer, elk, and moose.

“In general, over the last few years the prevalence in the town of Libby, the urban area has actually gone down, it’s actually one of the few places in the state where we have actually seen reduction in CWD prevalence, and we hope that’s attributed to some of our management actions we’re doing on the ground,” said FWP Regional Manager Neil Anderson.

Anderson said final CWD samples from the general season are still being tested.