JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has concluded its 2016-2017 sampling and testing efforts to find chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging Missouri deer. Through the cooperation and support from hunters, private land owners, taxidermists, and others, MDC tested more than 25,500 deer during the past season and found nine cases of the deadly disease, as previously reported: one in Adair, three in Franklin, one in Jefferson, two in Macon, and two in St. Clair counties.
The two cases in St. Clair County were the first CWD detections found in the western part of the state. The case found in Jefferson County was the first for that county.
“While we did detect CWD in a few new areas of the state, including Jefferson and St. Clair counties, the fact that we found a low number of positives is great news and indicates CWD remains relatively rare in Missouri,” said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten.
In response to finding CWD in Jefferson and St Clair counties, and because of the detection of CWD in 2017 in hundreds of deer in northwest Arkansas near the Missouri border, MDC is expanding its CWD Management Zone from 29 to 41 counties for fall 2017. New CWD Management Zone counties include: Barry, Benton, Cedar, Dade, Hickory, Ozark , Polk, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, and Taney.
The existing 29 counties of the CWD Management Zone are: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Putnam, Randolph, St. Charles, St. Louis, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, Warren, and Washington.
Pending approval in May by the Missouri Conservation Commission, MDC will again have mandatory CWD sampling during the opening weekend of the 2017 fall firearms deer season, Nov. 11 and 12. Hunters who harvest deer in mandatory-sampling counties on that Saturday and Sunday will be required to present their harvests for CWD sampling at an MDC sampling station. However, not all counties in the CWD Management Zone will be included.
Mandatory CWD sampling will take place in 25 of the 41 CWD Management Zone counties. It will include the new counties added to the CWD Management Zone, counties with previous CWD positives, and counties very near previous positives. The mandatory CWD sampling counties for opening weekend will be: Adair, Barry, Benton, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Franklin, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Moniteau, Ozark, Polk, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Sullivan, Stone, Taney, Warren, and Washington.
“The success of the fall 2016 mandatory sampling effort and the fact CWD was detected in few locations at low occurrence gives us the ability to focus on priority counties,” explained Batten.
A map of the mandatory CWD sampling counties, sampling station locations, and other details will be available online this fall at mdc.mo.gov/cwd and printed in MDC’s “2017 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information” booklet.
MDC will also offer voluntary CWD sampling opportunities throughout the 2017-2018 deer hunting season at participating taxidermists and designated MDC offices. Voluntary sampling locations will be available online this fall at mdc.mo.gov/cwd, or by calling MDC regional offices.
This year’s findings bring the total number of free-ranging deer in Missouri confirmed to have CWD to 42. MDC has sampled more than 77,000 deer since it began testing for the disease in 2001. For more information on positive CWD cases by year and county, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd and click on the blue box, “CWD Surveillance Summary.”