Thursday, July 27, 2017
By Lisa Lakey
As of July 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation included another dozen counties to its expanding list of areas in which feeding deer is prohibited to combat chronic wasting disease.
Forty-one counties are now included in the state’s CWD Management Zone. Newest on the list are the counties of Barry, Benton, Cedar, Dade, Hickory, Ozark, Polk, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone and Taney.
CWD is a neurological disease that affects cervids (for example, white-tailed deer and elk). With no vaccine or cure, the disease is 100 percent fatal. As of now, biologists’ only tool to combat the disease is prevention.
“CWD is spread from deer to deer and the potential for transmission increases when deer gather in larger, concentrated numbers,” MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten said. “Feeding deer or placing minerals for deer unnaturally concentrates the animals and can help spread the deadly disease.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation has expanded the state's CWD Management Zone to include 41 counties. (MDC)
The year-round feeding ban in the CWD Management Zone includes grain, salt and other consumable products usd to attract deer. A few exceptions exist within the zone, including feed within 100 feet of a residence, feed that excludes access by deer and feed or minerals used solely for normal agricultural, forest management or wildlife food-plot production practices. The disease can be spread through contaminated soil, food or water.
The MDC is also requiring mandatory sampling in 25 of the counties in the management zone. Deer harvested during firearms deer season on opening weekend (Nov. 11 and 12) must be brought to one of the MDC sampling stations so a tissue sample can be taken. Either the entire carcass or just the head with no less than six inches of the neck attached may be presented.
Voluntary sampling will also be offered throughout the 2017-18 deer hunting season at the more than 75 sampling stations throughout the CWD Management Zone. The testing is free of charge.
Missouri’s problem with CWD started back in 2010, when the disease was detected in captive deer. From there, it was detected in Linn and Macon Counties the following year. No cases of the disease have been detected in southern Missouri, despite more than 100 cases reported in northwest Arkansas.
During 2016’s mandatory sampling in 29 counties over Nov. 12 and 13, five deer tested positive from the 19,200 tested.
For more information on Missouri and CWD, click here.