MDC needs hunter help with CWD sampling in north-central Missouri

News from the region
Published Date

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is again working with hunters and landowners from around the state, along with taxidermy shops and meat processors in north-central Missouri, to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The cooperative effort is part of MDC's ongoing work to detect cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Missouri's free-ranging deer.

The Conservation Department encourages hunters to take deer harvested in MDC's CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties to one of numerous cooperating locations in the region to have a tissue sample taken for testing. Sampling locations include area taxidermists and meat processors, and the Northeast Regional MDC office in Kirksville during normal business hours.

Removing a tissue sample is free, takes only a few minutes and will not reduce the food or taxidermy value of harvested deer. The sampling effort is taking place Sept. 15 to Jan. 15, 2015.

Test results typically take 3-4 weeks and are posted for participating hunters on the MDC website at

In addition to the hunter-harvested deer samples collected within the six-county CWD Containment Zone, MDC also conducts routine statewide CWD surveillance. For 2014, the northern half of the state will be sampled throughout the duration of the archery and firearms seasons. This large-scale testing effort is made possible through the cooperation of many of the state's hunters, landowners, and taxidermists—proving once again that Missourians care about conserving forest, fish, and wildlife.

During and after the 2013-2014 deer hunting seasons, a total of 3,666 free-ranging deer were tested statewide for chronic wasting disease, including more than 200 deer in the CWD Core Area (a 30-square-mile area that surrounds the Linn-Macon county line where CWD–positive deer have been found), and all tests came back negative. To date, MDC has tested more than 40,000 free-ranging white-tailed deer for CWD.

"While we are cautiously optimistic that these latest results suggest our efforts to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease may be working, the threat of this infectious disease remains significant," says MDC State Wildlife Veterinarian Kelly Straka. "Therefore, continued surveillance is important."

Dr. Straka encourages anyone seeing deer that appear sick or displaying abnormal behavior to call their local conservation agent or MDC office.

CWD is always fatal to white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. There is no evidence that the disease can affect humans or domestic animals.

CWD was first found in Missouri in 2010 and remains confined to 21 confirmed cases in both captive and free-ranging deer in a small area that borders northeastern Linn and northwestern Macon counties.

More information on CWD and a list of sample-collection locations can be found in MDC's 2014 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available at MDC offices and nature centers, from permit vendors, and online at