2023-2024 Yellowstone National Park Hunting Updates
Blackfeet Fish & Wildlife Department
P.O. Box 850
Browning, MT 59417
Fax: (406) 338-4751
Off-Reservation Hunting – Update 12/4/23
Yellowstone National Park and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) recently confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the carcass of an adult mule deer buck found near Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern section of the park. This is the first confirmed positive detection of the disease in Yellowstone National Park. The mule deer buck was originally captured by WGFD staff near Cody, Wyoming, in March 2023 as part of a population dynamics study and fitted with a GPS collar. The collar signaled the animal died mid-October 2023. In coordination with Yellowstone staff, WGFD located the carcass on the Promontory, a landmass that separates the South and Southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake and collected samples for testing. The samples tested positive for CWD based on multiple diagnostic tests performed at WGFD’s Wildlife Health Laboratory. As a result the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department will be exercising emergency off-reservation hunting regulations, effective immediately!
Emergency Off-Reservation Hunting regulations:
In an effort to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) being transferred from the
Gardiner or West Yellowstone areas to the Blackfeet Indian reservation, the following off-reservation hunting emergency regulations were put into effect by the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Commission on November 30, 2023.
1. Deer hunting is prohibited in the Gardiner and West Yellowstone areas until further notice!
2. Mandatory CWD testing of all harvested elk. Fine of $2,000 for failure to do so.
3. Blackfeet CWD staff and game wardens will be available to assist tribal hunters with CWD testing of elk.
4. Mandatory SARS/Covid 2 testing of all bison and elk by Blackfeet CWD staff.
5. All Blackfeet off-reservation hunters must sign an acknowledgement form agreeing to these new disease testing requirements.
6. To minimize the possibility of CWD contamination on the BIR. Blackfeet Tribal hunters must leave guts, legs, heads, hides, and other elk parts in the field or dispose unwanted elk parts in the CWD garbage bin located at the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department.
7. YNP elk and bison tags will suffice for transport tags to allow the legal transport of elk and bison to meat cutters, taxidermists, or back to your residence. If tribal hunters have questions, they can drop by the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department office, visit our website at www.blackfeetfishandwildlife.net, or call (406) 338-7207 for more information.