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Chronic Wasting Disease in Missouri

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Published on: Sep. 17, 2012

As part of MDC’s efforts to manage the prevalence and spread of CWD in Missouri, some regulation changes have been implemented.

Restriction on feeding

Activities such as feeding and placement of minerals/salts that artificially concentrate deer greatly increase the likelihood of disease transmission by concentrating animals at greater than natural densities and increases direct (nose-to-nose) and indirect (contaminated feed and environment) contact among individuals. Feeding and placement of minerals is not necessary to sustain healthy wildlife populations.

The Conservation Commission approved a regulation change in May 2012 that places a restriction on activities that are likely to unnaturally concentrate white-tailed deer and promote the spread of CWD. The ban on the placement of grain, salt products, minerals and other consumable natural or manufactured products is limited to the CWD Containment Zone comprised of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties.

The regulation includes exceptions for backyard feeding of birds and other wildlife within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, or if feed is placed in such a manner to reasonably exclude access by deer. The regulation also includes exceptions for normal agricultural, forest management, crop and wildlife food production practices. Farmers are encouraged to remove salt and minerals when cattle are not present to minimize use by deer.

Removal of antler-point restriction

The Conservation Commission approved a regulation change in May 2012 for a special harvest provision that rescinds the antler-point restriction (four-point rule) in the CWD Containment Zone composed of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties. The repeal of the antler-point restriction is effective Sept. 15, 2012, the opening of archery season.

The reason for the regulation change is that management strategies, such as antler-point restrictions, protect yearling males and promote older bucks. Yearling and adult male deer have been found to exhibit CWD at much higher rates than yearling and adult females, so a reduction in the number of male deer can help limit the spread of CWD. The dispersal of yearling males from their natal or birth range in search of territory and mates is also one of the primary means of expanding the distribution of CWD. The antler-point restriction protects this age class. Therefore, we have removed the antler-point restriction to allow the harvest of yearling males. We are not advocating the removal of large numbers of young bucks, but we are recognizing their role in disease transmission

and are removing the

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