JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds deer hunters that it is conducting mandatory sampling and voluntary sampling of harvested deer to help find cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD). MDC encourages hunters to properly dispose of deer carcasses to help limit the spread of the disease. MDC also encourages hunters to Share the Harvest and to follow special guidelines if sharing a harvested deer from a county where CWD has been found.
CWD is an infectious and deadly illness for white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. There have been no known cases of CWD infecting people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends having deer tested for CWD if harvested in an area known to have cases of the disease. The CDC also recommends not eating meat from animals that test positive for CWD. Cases of CWD are relatively rare in Missouri with 76 confirmed cases in free-ranging deer since the disease was first found in free-ranging deer in 2012. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
MDC will be conducting mandatory CWD sampling of deer harvested in 31 of the 48 counties of its CWD Management Zone during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10 and 11.
The counties are: Adair, Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.
Hunters who harvest deer from these counties Nov. 10 or 11 must take their deer -- or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place -- on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s 61 CWD mandatory sampling stations. Stations will be open from 7:30 a.m. to at least 8 p.m. Deer may be presented at any mandatory sampling station and hunters can get free test results of their sampled deer.
Find locations and more information at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 10-11, or in MDC’s 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold.
MDC also continues to offer free voluntary CWD sampling and testing of deer harvested anywhere in the state throughout the entire deer hunting season. Hunters can also get free test results for their deer online. Find locations and more information at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season.
Carcass parts from infected deer can spread CWD. Deer may be infected even if they appear healthy. To help reduce the risks of spreading CWD, MDC encourages hunters to dispose of deer carcass parts by bagging them and placing in trash containers destined for a landfill, by burying them at or near the site of harvest, or by leaving them on the immediate area where the deer was harvested and field dressed. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Carcass Disposal.
MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) encourage deer hunters around the state to share their harvests through the state’s Share the Harvest program (STH). Administered by MDC and CFM, Share the Harvest coordinates the efforts of thousands of deer hunters, numerous participating meat processors, many local supporting organizations, and statewide sponsors to help feed hungry Missourians.
The program works by deer hunters donating their extra venison -- from several pounds to whole deer -- to participating meat processors throughout the state who grind and package the deer meat. The packaged venison is then given to local food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance. Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous program sponsors.
Get more information in MDC’s 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold, and online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-share-harvest
Deer donated to Share the Harvest must be tested for CWD if harvested from any of the 12 counties where CWD has been found: Adair, Cedar, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, Oregon, Perry, Polk, St. Clair, and Ste. Genevieve. These deer can only be donated through processors participating in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program and located in or near any of the 12 CWD-positive counties. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Share the Harvest.