Resumption of mandatory sampling for chronic wasting disease at the start of the deer season

As deer season has begun, chronic wasting disease continues to be of concern to many, including wildlife managers, hunters, and others.

The disease, commonly known as CWD, ends up killing any deer it infects and can spread throughout the environment. CWD was first found in the Missouri free-range deer population in 2012 and has been found in 18 counties, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The disease remains “relatively rare in the state”, being detected in 206 deer out of more than 152,300 tested by the MDC since 2012.

The contagious disease is deadly for white-tailed deer, said wildlife biologist Jasmine Batten, who is also the wildlife health program supervisor for the MDC.

“When deer are infected, they can throw it into water and food,” Batten said. “This disease can remain active and infectious for a very long time. “

A closer look at chronic wasting disease

The disease is specific to the deer family, which also includes elk.

“We don’t know of any evidence of its transmission to other species, including humans, but it belongs to the same family of diseases as mad cow disease, which is a bovine or bovine disease,” Batten said.

Among the 44 new cases of chronic wasting disease found in Missouri deer last season was this sick deer.  The MDC determined that the deer showed signs of CWD infection and was euthanized by MDC staff.  Screening for cervid encephalopathy confirmed the diagnosis.

Due to health concerns and recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MDC has suspended mandatory sampling regulations for the opening weekend of the 2020 gun season.

Following:White-tailed deer can catch COVID, USDA reports. What does this mean for Missouri hunters?

“Normally over that two day period we test about 20,000 deer,” Batten said.

MDC was able to test more than 15,000 deer again, thanks to partnerships with taxidermists and meat processors across the state. Earlier this year, the ministry proposed adding four more counties to the MDC management area while reinstating mandatory sampling requirements.

“We are detecting disease in an increasing number of areas,” Batten said of additional counties in Missouri. “It’s worrying and disappointing, but the good news is that where we detect it in new areas, it’s a very small percentage of deer that test positive. In areas that we have been monitoring for a long time, that percentage of infected deer appear to be stable. “

The required sampling weekend is November 13-14. Hunters who harvest deer in the 34 counties where MDC is located will need to take their deer or head on harvest day to one of the many mandatory MDC sampling stations. Sampling and test results are free.

Two hunters looking for deer

Before arriving at a mandatory MDC sampling station:

  • Country dress and Telecheck stag.
  • Bring the carcass or just the head.
  • The cloaks can be removed for taxidermy.
  • Place deer in vehicles with easily accessible heads and necks.
  • Make sure the person who collected the deer is present.
  • Have the hunter’s Conservation ID number ready.
  • Be prepared to find the location of the harvest on a map.
  • If you are using a paper permit, have it detached from the deer for easy access.
  • If you are using the MO Hunting app, have license and Telecheck information available.

Find locations and more information online at or by contacting a regional MDC office at

Slow down the spread

Missouri’s approach to tackling CWD is to catch the disease early before it can become established, and then work on an intervention to slow the spread, Batten said.

“We recognize how much Missourians care about deer and we are grateful for all the steps so many people are taking to protect them,” Batten said.

There are several steps people can take to slow the spread of CWD and prevent it from entering new areas.

Stormy weather may have limited the success of hunters during the opening weekend of Missouri's gun deer season.

“For hunters, the things they can do is think about the fact that deer parts can spread disease, so after harvesting their deer, I encourage hunters to use appropriate eliminations,” Batten said.

Hunters and wildlife watchers are encouraged not to feed the deer, Batten said. In CWD management areas, feeding deer is prohibited, with a few exceptions.

People should also keep an eye out for deer they see. If he is behaving abnormally, severely underweight, or behaving strangely, Batten said to call your local MDC office.

There is no known health link between the transfer of CWD between an infected deer and humans, but it is recommended that you not eat meat from an MDC positive deer, Batten said.

“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that if you hunt in an area you know has the disease, they recommend that you test the deer, and that if it is positive you get rid of the meat,” he said. she declared. added.

The best method of disposal is at a landfill, and when that isn’t available, Batten said hunters can contact the MDC for help removing any meat they choose not to eat.

Sara Karnes is an outdoor reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow his adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email him at [email protected]

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