Efforts to stop a disease that threatens Missouri deer and the sport of hunting continue across the state.
The Missouri Department of Conservation completed its monitoring and testing efforts for chronic wasting disease (CWD) for the 2019-2020 season. The MDC reports 46 new confirmed cases of the deer disease.
These new findings bring the total number of CWD cases in the Missouri to 162 since it was first surveyed in 2012. MDC has tested more than 137,000 deer since the first cases of CWD were found in free-ranging Missouri deer.
None of the deer tested during Christian County’s last hunting season tested positive for chronic wasting disease, but five of the new 46 cases identified were in neighboring counties — two in Stone County and three in Taney County.
The remaining cases break down with 10 in Ste. Genevieve, eight in Linn, eight in Macon, six in Franklin, three in Adair. two in Oregon, two in Perry, one in Jefferson and one in Polk County.
Christian County is part of a seven-county CWD management zone in southern Missouri.
MDC employees tested 29,000 tissue samples collected from white-tailed deer across the state. On the opening weekend of firearms hunting season in Christian County, hunters were required to take their deer to sampling sites in Sparta and in Clever. From that sampling, 25 of the 46 new cases were identified.
The remaining 21 cases of CWD were detected through post-hunting season culling efforts that the Department of Conservation carried out in January, February and March of 2020. The culling took place in areas where CWD cases had been found in prior testing cycles.
All of the 2,400 deer harvested through targeted culling that did not test positive for the disease were either returned to the landowner for processing or donated to Missouri food pantries through the Share the Harvest venison-donation program.
According to MDC, post-season targeted culling can help decrease CWD transmission by reducing the number of potentially infected deer within infected areas. Missouri and other states, such as Illinois, have successfully limited the percent of deer infected with CWD by sustaining a long-term, targeted-culling management program. For more information on MDC targeted culling efforts, visit http://mdc.mo.gov/cwd and look under “Post Season Targeted Culling.”
CWD infects and kills white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family. The purpose of Missouri’s CWD sampling and testing efforts is to find cases early so that scientists can limit the spread of the disease by implementing management actions such as targeted culling. Learn more about CWD at http://mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
CWD recommendations for hunters and others
-Do not handle or consume any deer that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
-Contact the Missouri Department of Conservation if you see or harvest a deer that appears sick.
-Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing deer.
-Bone out meat from harvested deer. Don’t saw through bone and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
-Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
-Minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues.
-Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
-For specific precautions on processing and consuming meat from deer with CWD, visit the Department of Health and Senior Services at http://health.mo.gov/cwd