MDC is revising its CWD Surveillance and Management Plan and seeking public input on the plan’s goals and objectives and proposed changes to deer hunting regulations.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) management in Missouri
MDC implemented its first CWD plan in 2012 and revised it in 2015. Since 2015, the disease has continued to spread in Missouri, although the number of cases has remained low. Since CWD was first detected in the state in 2010, 292 CWD-positive deer have been found. The amount of information about CWD and CWD management has since expanded, and MDC's revised draft plan will put in practice some of this new understanding. In particular, MDC is interested in further engaging hunters in the management effort by proposing some changes to hunting regulations.
The commenting period for this plan has ended.
Goals and objectives of the updated draft CWD surveillance and management plan
The five goals and 15 objectives of the updated draft plan are:
Goal 1: Surveillance — Detect CWD early in new locations and monitor changes in distribution where CWD is found.
- Objective 1.1: Conduct CWD surveillance annually at the statewide scale to detect the disease as early as possible in new locations.
- Objective 1.2: Maintain increased CWD surveillance intensity within the CWD Management Zone to increase likelihood of early detection.
- Objective 1.3: Monitor changes in spatial distribution and sample prevalence of CWD over time.
Goal 2: Hunter service testing — Maintain hunter confidence and trust by meeting hunter service testing demands and addressing real or perceived public health concerns associated with CWD.
- Objective 2.1: Offer voluntary sampling opportunities for hunters within, and outside of, the CWD Management Zone.
- Objective 2.2: Continue working with meat processors in the CWD Management Zone to collect samples as part of the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program.
Goal 3: Communication — Provide accurate and relevant information about CWD to the public, agency staff, and other stakeholders.
- Objective 3.1: Clearly and effectively communicate with stakeholders about CWD and MDC’s CWD surveillance and management approach.
- Objective 3.2: Provide information about the status of CWD in Missouri and sampling efforts to date.
- Objective 3.3: Increase promotion of voluntary CWD sampling opportunities.
Goal 4: Management and prevention — Apply management actions to limit the further spread of CWD where it has been detected and decrease chances of introduction into new areas.
- Objective 4.1: Implement management recommendations within the CWD Management Zone to reduce CWD transmission risk and minimize spread of the disease.
- Objective 4.2: Expand deer hunting opportunities within portions of the CWD Management Zone where additional harvest is needed to meet disease management goals.
- Objective 4.3: Reduce direct and indirect CWD transmission by removing deer after the end of the deer hunting season through use of targeted removals in close proximity to where CWD has been detected.
- Objective 4.4: Regulate confined cervids in a manner that minimizes the risk of disease transmission among cervids within these facilities and with free-ranging deer and elk.
- Objective 4.5: Minimize risk of CWD spread by continuing to implement carcass transportation and disposal requirements.
Goal 5: Research — Support and conduct applied research on CWD and its epidemiology to support disease management decisions.
- Objective 5.1: Conduct research and monitoring efforts to better inform CWD management decisions.
- Objective 5.2: Conduct research to improve the effectiveness of CWD communication efforts.
Proposed changes to deer hunting regulations
As part of the CWD Surveillance and Management Plan revision, MDC is considering the following changes to deer hunting regulations for the 2023 deer hunting season to help manage CWD and assist with meeting deer management goals.
- Increase the maximum number of firearms antlerless deer hunting permits that a hunter could fill from two to four in select counties.
- Create a three-day early antlerless portion of firearms deer season in select counties that would begin on a Friday in early to mid-October.
- Create a five-day CWD portion of firearms deer season in select CWD Management Zone counties that would begin the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.