JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is again working with hunters from around the state, along with taxidermy shops and meat processors in north-central Missouri, to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The cooperative effort is part of MDC’s ongoing work to detect cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Missouri’s free-ranging deer.
The sample collection effort is limited to deer harvested in MDC’s CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties. MDC encourages hunters to take deer harvested in these counties to one of numerous cooperating locations in the region to have a tissue sample taken for testing. Sampling locations include area taxidermists and meat processors, and MDC offices in Columbia, Chillicothe and Kirksville during normal business hours.
Removing a tissue sample is free, takes only a few minutes and will not reduce the food or mount value of harvested deer. The sampling effort is taking place until Jan. 15. Test results typically take 3-4 weeks and are being posted for participating hunters on the MDC website at mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/cwdSurveillance/cwdSurveillance.aspx.
More information on CWD and a list of sample-collection locations can be found in MDC’s “2013 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet available at MDC offices and nature centers, from permit vendors, and online at tinyurl.com/obxjp27.
The Department also encourages hunters throughout the state who encounter or harvest deer in poor condition with no obvious injuries to contact their local conservation agent or MDC office. Local MDC contacts can be found online at mdc.mo.gov.
CWD is always fatal to white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. There is no evidence that the disease can affect humans or domestic animals. CWD was first found Missouri in 2010 and remains confined to 21 confirmed cases in both captive and free-ranging deer in a small area that borders northeastern Linn and northwestern Macon counties. Cooperation from hunters during past sampling efforts helped detect cases found in free-ranging deer from the area.
“Infectious diseases such as CWD are a serious and growing threat to Missouri’s estimated 1.4 million free-ranging and 9,000 captive white-tailed deer, and the many Missourians, businesses, and communities that rely on a healthy and abundant deer population,” said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “This includes nearly 520,000 deer hunters, nearly two million wildlife watchers, thousands of landowners, 12,000 Missouri jobs, and hundreds of businesses and communities around the state that depend on the $1 billion annual economic boost related to deer hunting and watching.”
MDC is also working with concerned citizens to identify actions to prevent new occurrences of CWD and to limit its spread in both captive and free-ranging deer. The Department encourages concerned citizens to share their comments online at mdc.mo.gov/deerhealth.