JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With the November portion of Missouri’s fall firearms deer season opening Saturday, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants hunters, landowners, and others to know key information about chronic wasting disease, or CWD. MDC is continuing its efforts this fall and winter to limit the spread of CWD in Missouri deer by finding new cases and slowing its spread to more deer or more areas.
MDC has a CWD Management Zone of 29 counties in or near where CWD has been found: Adair, Barry, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
Hunters who harvest deer in any of the 29 counties of the CWD Management Zone during the opening weekend of the November portion of the fall firearms deer season (Nov. 16 and 17) are required to take their harvested deer (or the head with at least six inches of neck attached) on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s numerous CWD sampling stations throughout the zone. The sampling stations are open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sampling and test results are free. Hunters who harvest deer in counties no longer part of the zone are not required to participate in sampling. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Mandatory CWD Sampling,” or from MDC’s “2019 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet, available where permits are sold.
MDC is offering free voluntary CWD sampling and testing of deer harvested anywhere in Missouri throughout the entire deer hunting season at MDC regional offices during regular business hours and through participating taxidermists and meat processors within the CWD Management Zone. Get locations and more information at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Voluntary Sampling.”
Get test results for CWD-sampled deer online at mdc.mo.gov/CWDTestResults. Results are free and will be available within four weeks after the sampling date.
Carcasses or remains of CWD-infected deer can expose other deer to the disease. Process deer as close as possible to where harvested. Place remaining carcass parts in trash bags and properly dispose of them in the trash or a landfill. If necessary, bury or leave remains at the harvest site. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Carcass Disposal.”
Missouri’s Share the Harvest program helps deer hunters donate venison to those in need. To participate, take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison is to be donated. Learn more and find participating processors at mdc.mo.gov/share.
Deer harvested within the CWD Management Zone may only be donated to approved processors in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program located within or directly adjacent to the CWD Management Zone. Processors not participating in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program cannot accept deer from CWD Management Zone counties. Deer harvested outside of the CWD Management Zone may be donated to any Share the Harvest processor.
For deer sampled for CWD before being taken to an approved processor for donation, present the CWD barcode number provided at the sampling station to the processor as proof of sampling. If a sample has not been collected before donation, the processor will collect the sample or remove the head and submit it to MDC for sampling. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Share the Harvest.”
CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family that eventually kills all animals it infects. MDC has found 116 cases of CWD in Missouri since 2012 out of more than 100,000 deer sampled so the disease remains relatively rare in the state. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “CWD in Missouri.”
There have been no reported cases of CWD infecting people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends having deer tested for CWD if harvested in an area known to have the disease. The CDC also recommends not eating meat from animals that test positive for CWD. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Human Health Risks.”
Learn more about deer hunting and MDC’s efforts to limit the spread of CWD through the MDC Nature’s Calling video at youtube.com/watch?v=bDx_EYT1Zgo&feature=youtu.be.