To help find and limit the spread of Chronic wasting disease (CWD), the Conservation Department needs the help of deer hunters who harvest deer in the areas where the disease has been found.
Mandatory testing is required in the CWD management zone.
CWD has been found in northeast, central and east-central Missouri. According to wildlife-disease experts, it has the potential to greatly reduce deer numbers, deer health, and deer hunting in Missouri. Its presence could also hurt families and businesses that rely on deer hunting.
While no deer from southern Missouri have been found positive for CWD, deer and elk in northwest Arkansas have. The Department also needs the help of deer hunters in southwest Missouri to find possible cases of the disease in the area.
Hunters who harvest deer during opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season Nov. 12 and 13 in any of the 29 counties of the CWD Management Zone are required to present their deer for CWD tissue-sample collection on the day of harvest.
Hunters must take their harvested deer to one of 75 CWD sampling locations throughout the 29 counties. Hunters also have the option of presenting just the deer head with about six inches of neck attached.
Deer must be presented by the hunter who harvested the animal.
Sampling locations will be open Nov. 12 and 13 from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Test results are free, and hunters can obtain the results after samples are processed.
The 29 counties of the CWD Management Zone include Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Putnam, Randolph, St. Charles, St. Louis, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, Warren and Washington.
For a map of CWD Management Zone counties, a list of the CWD sampling locations, and other information visit mdc.mo.gov/CWD
“Early detection of chronic wasting disease is critical because once the disease is well established in an area, it is impossible to eradicate,” according to Wildlife Division Chief Jason Sumners. “Therefore, our increased testing of hunter-harvested deer in and around counties where the disease has been found will greatly improve our ability to find cases of CWD early and limit its spread to more deer in more areas.”
While testing is mandatory during firearms opening weekend, MDC staff will be available to remove tissue samples from deer harvested in the CWD Management Zone throughout the season.
Hunters can help reduce their wait times at a CWD sampling location by Telechecking their deer before going to a sampling location, having their completed permit information ready, and being prepared to identify their harvest location on a map.