JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ‐‐ The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received final results from its 2015‐2016 fall and winter testing of nearly 7,700 free‐ranging deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Seven were confirmed to be positive for the fatal deer‐disease. Three were from Adair County, two from Macon County, one from Linn County, and one from Franklin County (reported earlier in the year).
The new cases bring the total number of Missouri free‐ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to 33 since the disease was first discovered in the state in 2010. Of the 33 cases, 21 have been found in Macon County, 9 in Adair, one in Cole, one in Franklin, and one in Linn.
Chronic Wasting Disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of the brain. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100‐percent fatal.
According to MDC State Wildlife Veterinarian Kelly Straka, the Department's CWD‐testing efforts focus mostly on deer harvested by hunters and deer removed by MDC staff and landowners from specific private properties in northeast, central, and east‐central Missouri very near where the disease has been found, along with a small number of sick and road‐kill deer.
Straka added that MDC also conducts broader CWD testing around the state each year as part of its ongoing monitoring efforts. Nearly 2,700 of the deer tested last fall and winter were part of this broader CWD monitoring and the focus was on the southern half of Missouri. No deer from southern Missouri were found to be positive for CWD.
The Conservation Department has collected more than 51,000 tissue samples for CWD testing from all around the state since it began testing for the disease in 2001.
This coming fall and winter, MDC will increase its CWD‐testing efforts in its CWD management zones. The management zones consist of 29 counties within or that touch a radius of approximately 25 miles from where the disease has been found. Counties in the CWD management zone are: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Crawford, Cole, Cooper, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Louis, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, Washington, and Warren.
The Department will require hunters to present their deer, or the head with at least six inches on of the neck intact, for CWD testing at an MDC testing location on the day of harvest if they harvest it in one of these 29 counties during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 12 and 13. The testing is free and hunters can also get free test results.
"We are in the process of working out the logistics for this important CWD‐testing effort and will have more details this summer and fall," explained Straka. "We will be providing several locations in each of the 29 counties to help make getting their deer tested as convenient as possible for hunters."
MDC will also continue to work with taxidermists in the 29 counties to provide free CWD testing during other parts of the upcoming deer‐hunting seasons. The Department will also continue its broader ongoing CWD monitoring efforts with a focus on the northern half of the state for the upcoming season.
For more information on CWD in Missouri, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/CWD.