MDC reminds people not to feed deer in CWD management counties

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

St. LOUIS, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is asking residents who live in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management counties to help slow the spread and reduce the impact of CWD in Missouri.  CWD a fatal neurological disease that infects only deer and other members of the deer family.

The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. CWD is spread from deer to deer and the potential for transmission increases when deer gather in larger, concentrated numbers.  Unnatural congregation of deer in places such as feeders and mineral licks substantially increases the chances of spreading the deadly disease. 

“This disease threatens Missouri’s deer herd, hunting traditions, and many businesses supported by hunting,” said Franklin County Conservation Agent, Corporal Ben Pursley.   

To reduce the spread of CWD, MDC has put in place special regulations within the CWD Management Zone.  These prohibit the use year-round of grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products used to attract deer within counties of the CWD Management Zone.  In the St. Louis region, the counties where the deer feeding ban applies include St. Charles, Warren, Franklin, Crawford, Washington, and Jefferson. 

The following exemptions area allowed: Feed placed within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, feed placed in a manner that excludes access by deer, feed and minerals used solely for normal agricultural practices, and feed placed as part of a feral hog or CWD management effort authorized by MDC. 

Corporal Pursley stressed the following ways residents in these counties can help reduce the spread of CWD:

  • Don’t feed deer. Feeding deer causes an unnatural congregation of animals in one spot and increase the likelihood that an infected deer may spread the disease to others. Feeding of wildlife is permitted within 100 feet of a residence or occupied building but it is recommended that any feed placed near your home is done so in a manner to exclude deer from accessing it, such as bird feeders six feet or more above the ground and or feeders designed specifically to exclude deer.
  • Don’t put out mineral licks. Mineral licks such as salt blocks, mineral blocks, trophy rocks™, and other commercially produced consumable attractants will increase the risk of spreading CWD. These types of products are prohibited by law year round in CWD Management Zone Counties. 
  • Encourage others. Encourage neighbors and friends to stop feeding deer.

“Deer are a resource that is enjoyed by more than just hunters.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of this disease,” said Pursley. 

For more information on CWD and on how to help slow the spread go to