Build the wall!

No. Not that one.

Build one up here.

Not real tall, just tall enough to keep the deer out.

Chronic wasting disease was introduced to north central Montana in part from deer that escaped Canadian game farms. Fatal to deer, but not found to be transmissible to humans, CWD was first reported in Montana in 2017. Prior to the 2018 hunting season, 26 deer in Montana tested positive for the disease. Twenty-one of those deer came from the Hi-line.

Any deer harvested north of Highway 2 must now be tested for CWD.

Although it would be a case of closing the barn door after the cows escaped, building a wall on the Montana-Canada border might have added benefits. Among them, keeping out Saskatchewan pheasant hunters. It would only be fair. While non-residents can hunt pheasants in Montana, only residents of Saskatchewan can hunt pheasants there.

Build a big, beautiful, powerful wall!

Keep those Canucks and their disease-ridden deer up in the Great White North where they belong.

While the idea of building a wall around Montana is hardly a new concept, a friend of mine recently suggested taking it a step further by building a wall around Phillips County. He’d be happy to never see another hunter up here from Billings or the Flathead.

He’s not one of those newcomers who want to shut the door on outsiders. He’s a life-long resident of the county who wants to shut the door on outsiders. Phillips County is enough for him.

I wouldn’t be opposed to such an idea, but then I’m already here. Had there been a wall when I arrived in Montana 49 years ago I probably would have ended up here anyway. Try to keep me out, and I’ll just try that much harder to get in. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

So build that wall tall enough to keep out those Canadians who’ve discovered our wonderful pheasant hunting. Build it strong enough to deter the elk hunters from Kalispell who show up every fall. Build it sturdy enough to stop the swarms of hunters from Billings who’ve fallen in love with this country.

But you’d better build it quick. In a few years there may be nothing left to wall off. CWD will have killed all the deer. Brucellosis will decimate the elk herds. Avian flu will kill all the birds.

There’s a crisis on the border.

The sky is falling.

Build that wall!

Parker Heinlein is at pman@mtintouch.net.