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Missouri needs hunter help for CWD surveillance Nov. 13-14

From the Missouri Department of Conservation

-- Missouri is asking hunters who harvest deer in six north central counties during opening weekend of firearms deer season to submit samples for CWD testing as part of ongoing efforts to monitor Missouri's free ranging deer for Chronic Wasting Disease.

Hunters who harvest yearling and adult deer during opening weekend of firearms deer season Nov. 13 and 14 in Linn, Chariton, Macon and parts of Sullivan, Adair and Randolph counties are encouraged to take their deer to collection sites for tissue sampling between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

A  map of the sampling zone and sampling locations is available through the MDC Online Newsroom at http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom.

Collection locations include, in Linn County, King Processing & Catering, 33181 Hwy. WW in Marceline; Meadville Meat Locker, 101 E. Gentry St. in Meadville; Mussel Fork Conservation Area, 10 miles east of Brookfield and south of US Hwy. 36 near Bucklin (look for signs); MDC Brookfield Maintenance Center, 115 Pershing Road in Brookfield.
 
In Chariton County, Salisbury Meat Market & Processing, 29047 Market Lane in Salisbury; in Macon County, Special D Meats, 30637 Lake St. in Macon; Buck Ridge Butcher Shop (Saturday Only), 11245 Grouse Ave. in La Plata; Floral Hall-Macon County Fairgrounds, 1303 S. Missouri St. in Macon.

In Sullivan County, Tucker's Grocer & Processing, 355 W. Front St. in Green Castle.
 
"Collecting tissue samples will take only a few minutes and involves removing lymph nodes from the head," according to resource scientist Jason Sumners. "The tissue sampling will not reduce the food or taxidermy value of deer."
 
Sumners, a biologist with expertise in deer management, said hunters who encounter or harvest a deer in poor condition with no obvious injuries should contact their local conservation agent or MDC office and, if appropriate, the deer will be tested for CWD.
 
He noted that hunters are vital partners in keeping Missouri's deer herd healthy, along with the supporting the state economy.
 
"Adult deer have no widespread natural predators in Missouri so hunting is the primary way to control the population," he said.  "Our nearly 500,000 Missouri deer hunters spend more than $750 million directly related to deer hunting each year. This adds up to over $1 billion in overall business activity and supports more than 11,000 jobs."
 
The voluntary hunter sampling effort is part of the response to a single case of CWD confirmed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in a captive white-tailed deer at a private hunting ranch in Linn County in February. This is the first and only case of CWD detected in the state.
 
CWD is a neurological disease found in cervids such as deer, elk and moose. It attacks the brain and results in extreme weight loss, excessive salivation, stumbling, tremors and eventually death. CWD spreads through animal-to-animal contact and through soil-to-animal contact. The clinical tests used to detect CWD in white-tailed deer require lymph node or brain tissue.
 
There is no evidence CWD can infect people, and current research shows there is no evidence CWD can spread to domestic livestock, such as sheep or cattle.
 
While CWD is new to Missouri, the Conservation and Agriculture departments  have been testing for it for years.  The agencies formed a state Cervid Health Committee in 2002 to address the threat; the task force is composed of state and federal conservation agents, veterinarians and animal health officers.
 
With the help of hunters, the MDC has tested more than 26,000 free-ranging deer for CWD from all parts of the state since 2002 with no cases found.
 
Missouri residents who hunt in other states should be aware of a new regulation regarding chronic wasting disease. The state now requires any hunter who brings a deer, elk or moose into the state with the head or spinal column attached to report the carcasses entry by calling (877)853-5665 within 24 hours of entering the state.

If the head or spinal cord is intact on the animal, the hunter cannot process the meat or the trophy mount and must take the carcass to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry. Meat processors and taxidermists are required to dispose of the spinal cord and other parts in a properly permitted landfill. Hunters do not need to report if they simply bring back meat, hides, antlers, teeth, skulls or skull plates with no brain tissue attached.
 
For more information, refer to page 3 of the 2010 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold, MDC offices, and online at www.missouriconservation.org.

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