The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has collected approximately 1,700 tissue samples from deer harvested during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons by hunters in MDC’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment Zone in north-central Missouri. The CWD Containment Zone consists of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties, which surround northwest Macon County where CWD was found in five free-ranging deer in early 2012.
Test results from early sample submissions of deer harvested in the CWD Containment Zone are now available online. Participating hunters can get results for their individual deer at mdc.mo.gov/node/19829 by entering their conservation identification number.
Of the approximately 800 test results received so far, one adult buck has tested positive for the disease. It was harvested in northwest Macon County, where CWD was previously found. MDC has notified the hunter of the positive result, and will notify any other hunters should their deer test positive for the disease. MDC will share overall test results once testing is complete in early 2013.
The voluntary, cooperative sampling effort with deer hunters, landowners, taxidermy shops, and deer processors is part of MDC’s targeted CWD testing and containment efforts in the area. MDC has also been collecting tissue samples from hunter-harvested deer across north Missouri as part of its ongoing statewide CWD surveillance effort, which has been in place since 2002.
The hunter-harvest sampling effort continues until Jan. 15 in Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties. Hunters who want to participate are encouraged to take their harvested deer to a participating taxidermist in the region, or contact their local MDC office. A list of cooperating taxidermists is in MDC’s “2012 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet and online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/3656
Testing of the samples is being conducted by Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Athens, Georgia, and results may take up to six weeks from the time of submission.
CWD is a disease fatal to white-tailed deer. It is spread from deer to deer by physical contact, or through contact with soil that contains urine, saliva, or feces from infected deer. The disease spreads across the landscape through the natural movement and dispersal of infected deer. CWD has not been shown to be transmissible to domestic livestock or people.
According to MDC, Missouri has more than 511,000 deer hunters who spend about $690 million in the state each year on deer hunting and related activities. This has an overall economic impact of $1.1 billion in Missouri each year and supports almost 12,000 jobs. Many Missourians also enjoy viewing deer. A 2009 Gallup survey found that about 91% of Missourians are somewhat or very interested in observing deer in the outdoors.