Chronic Wasting Disease in Missouri

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Published on: Sep. 17, 2012

antler-point restriction to at least give hunters the opportunity to take these individuals if they so choose.

Suspending permits for new deer breeders and new big-game hunting facilities

In August 2012, the Conservation Commission approved proposed amendments to suspend permits for new big-game hunting facilities and new wildlife breeding facilities in Missouri that hold white-tailed deer or mule deer. The action is part of MDC’s efforts to limit the spread of CWD. MDC is soliciting public comments before the proposed changes go into effect. To provide comments, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/18891.

The regulation changes to suspend the issuance of new permits does not apply to wildlife breeders and big-game hunting preserves with existing permits, or to wildlife-breeders or game ranches who wish to hold approved wildlife species other than white-tailed deer or mule deer. MDC permit records show there are 27 permitted big-game hunting preserves in Missouri with white-tailed deer, and 277 permitted wildlife breeders with white-tailed deer.

Help From Hunters

Cooperation from hunters has been critical in monitoring and ultimately detecting CWD in Missouri. This fall we will continue to monitor the distribution and prevalence of CWD in north-central Missouri. As part of this effort, we are asking hunters to voluntarily submit samples for testing during the archery and firearms seasons. Detailed information on sample collection locations can be found in the 2012 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet or online at mdc.mo.gov/node/3656.

Don’t remove carcasses from the CWD Containment Zone

MDC also encourages hunters who harvest deer within the CWD Containment Zone comprised of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties not to take whole deer carcasses or carcass parts out of the area where CWD has been found. Exceptions to this include:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Hides or capes from which all excess tissue has been removed.
  • Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue.
  • Upper canine teeth
  • Finished taxidermy products

The reason for this recommendation is that CWD can be transmitted from the environment to deer through soil and water that contain infected waste and/or infected carcasses. Deer can be infected with CWD but have no visible signs or symptoms. Moving harvested deer that still have parts known to concentrate CWD (brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen and lymph nodes) from the area known to have CWD can introduce the disease to other parts of the state.

Hunters should make every attempt to avoid moving the head and spinal cord from the CWD Containment Zone. Disposal of deer carcasses in a landfill is the preferred option. Double bag carcass parts, and take them directly to a landfill, or place them in trash cans for pick-up. Burying carcass waste is another acceptable option. Carcass waste should be buried deep enough to prevent scavengers from digging it up.

What Can the Public Do to Help?

People who observe or harvest sickly deer should contact their nearest MDC office or conservation agent (see Page 3). Hunters who harvest deer in the area where CWD has been found are encouraged to participate in MDC’s CWD sampling efforts in the area. s

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