Kansas City, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host public meetings in St. Joseph and Blue Springs to provide information on the state’s deer herd and chronic wasting disease (CWD). Department staff will also collect public comments about limiting the spread of CWD among captive and free-ranging deer.
The meeting in St. Joseph will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, on the Missouri Western University campus. The meeting will be in the Kemper Recital Hall, which is in Leah Spratt Hall building, 4525 Downs Drive.
At Blue Springs, the CWD public meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road.
Based on current scientific research and Conservation Department management priorities, MDC has identified several areas of concern related to disease transmission and captive cervids. Those items include the separation of captive and free-ranging wildlife populations, movement of captive wildlife, disease testing and herd certification.
“CWD has been found in captive deer and free-ranging deer in north-central Missouri,” explained MDC State Veterinarian Kelly Straka. “This neurological disease is currently limited to deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. It has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. Once it is well established in an area, CWD is impossible to eradicate.”
The Department of Conservation has been working with hunters, landowners, conservation partners, and businesses to detect cases of this infectious disease and limit its spread in free-ranging deer. MDC has also made regulation changes affecting free-ranging deer in the area where CWD has been found.
MDC is also working with the captive cervid industry, landowners, hunters, and others to address areas of concern related to captive deer and other captive cervids. There are 47 big-game hunting preserves and 253 wildlife breeders in the state that have captive deer and other captive cervids.
Missouri’s first cases of CWD were detected in 2010 and 2011 in captive deer at private big-game hunting preserves in Linn and Macon counties. A total of 11 cases of CWD have been confirmed in captive deer at the facilities. CWD has since been found in 10 free-ranging deer within two miles of the captive facility in Macon County.
The Show-Me State offers some of the best deer hunting in America. Deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians’ lives and family traditions, including almost 520,000 deer hunters and almost two million wildlife watchers. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri. Deer hunting supports 12,000 Missouri jobs and gives a $1 billion annual boost to state and local economies.
For more information, go online to mdc.mo.gov and search chronic wasting disease.