November is prime mating season for white-tailed deer. They are magnificent creatures and a common sight across Missouri's landscape. It's hard to believe there was a time when people would travel for miles just to glimpse a deer track. It’s relatively easy to see deer today, but around 100 years ago they were hard to spot.
From a recorded low of 400 in the early twentieth century, there are around a million that roam the state today. Deer are one of our most valuable species for outdoor recreation, jobs and tourism.
MDC scientists work with dedicated conservation partners to maintain healthy deer populations and manage threats from disease.
Chronic Wasting Disease
The biggest threat is Chronic Wasting Disease, (CWD), which infects members of the deer family and is always fatal. Without management intervention, the disease grows in prevalence and spreads over time, and once well-established, is nearly impossible to eliminate. As it spreads, it can reduce deer numbers and impact hunting, wildlife watching, property values, and local and state economies.
The work of CWD is a Missouri effort. The camaraderie and dedication from MDC staff, scientists, hunters, landowners, processors, taxidermists, labs, and Share the Harvest partners, is evident during opening weekend when the most hunters go afield.
Go behind the scenes to see how this important work is carried out in the video below.
Learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease.