MDC working with local landowners to limit CWD spread

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will be working with private landowners in a small section of Linn and Macon counties to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) by reducing local deer numbers. CWD is a fatal disease in deer.

The targeted reduction effort will focus on a core area around northwest Macon County where the disease has been found in six free-ranging deer since early 2012. This core area is comprised of a 29-square-mile block along the northern part of the Linn- and Macon-county border and comprises about 2% of the counties’ total area.

The effort will involve MDC staff working with cooperating landowners to shoot deer on their properties beginning in mid-January and ending by mid-March.

“Our extensive CWD testing indicates that we caught the disease early while it is still limited to a small number of deer in a very concentrated area,” says MDC State Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “We hope that by significantly reducing the number of deer in the core area where CWD has been found, we can remove infected animals. This will help reduce, or potentially eliminate, the further spread of the disease to other deer in the area. It will also help prevent, or at least dramatically slow, the spread of the disease to other areas of Missouri.”

Sumners adds that more than 90 percent of Missouri land is privately owned, so landowners are vital to deer management and to MDC’s efforts to limit the spread of CWD.

“We greatly appreciate the cooperation and sacrifices of these local landowners,” says Sumners. “While this will greatly reduce deer numbers in this area in the short term, the effort will ultimately help protect the health of deer in the area and throughout the state by limiting the spread and impact of CWD.”

MDC will continue sampling hunter-harvested deer in future years to test for CWD, continue annual reviews of its CWD efforts, and conduct a complete evaluation in three years.