JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed four more cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging deer. The four deer were among 102 harvested in January and February in the CWD Core Area of Linn and Macon counties. The Core Area is comprised of a 29-square-mile block along the northern part of the Linn- and Macon-county border where CWD was first detected in free-ranging deer in early 2012. The intensive sampling effort was conducted by MDC and participating landowners to monitor infection rates, and limit the spread of the disease by reducing local deer numbers.
These four new cases bring the total confirmed cases of the disease to 10 in Missouri free-ranging deer with all from the small section of Linn and Macon counties.
MDC tested 3,225 harvested deer statewide for CWD last year, including 196 from the CWD Core Area, and 1,783 from the Department’s larger six-county CWD Containment Zone consisting of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties. MDC has tested more than 38,000 deer for the disease since 2001.
“Our extensive CWD testing indicates we caught the disease while it is still limited to a small number of deer in a very concentrated area,” says MDC State Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “We hope that by reducing deer numbers in the Core Area, we can remove those with CWD. This will help reduce the spread of the disease to other deer in the area, and prevent, or at least dramatically slow, the spread to other areas of Missouri.”
Sumners adds that more than 90 percent of Missouri land is privately owned, so landowners are vital to deer management and to MDC’s efforts to limit the spread of CWD.
“We greatly appreciate the cooperation of these local landowners,” Sumners said. “The effort to reduce deer numbers within the 29-square-mile core area will help protect the health of deer throughout the state.”
He added that MDC will continue testing harvested free-ranging deer for CWD during future deer seasons.