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Science and the Environment

Nearly Three Dozen Additional CWD-Infected Deer Found in Missouri

Larry Smith

Chronic Wasting Disease continues to pop up in Missouri but at a slow pace.  According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, 28 more white-tailed deer from 11 counties have been found to have the disease.  In all, 103 cases of CWD have been found since 2012.

The recent CWD cases were found after MDC collected tissues samples from more than 28,000 deer last summer and during the fall deer hunting season.

Two infected deer were found in southwest Missouri for the first time.  One was in Stone County and one in Taney County.

MDC wildlife disease coordinator, Jasmine Batten, said, where CWD occurs in Missouri, the number of infected deer remains low.  According to Batten, that indicates that the disease is relatively rare in the state.  “If left unchecked,” she said, “CWD could dramatically decrease the overall health and number of deer in Missouri over time.”

MDC biologists are again working with landowners on a voluntary basis through mid-March in the immediate areas around where recent cases of CWD have been found to harvest and test additional deer for the disease.

“Post-season targeted culling is a proven method of slowing the growth of CWD in a local deer population and, as a result, minimizing the accumulation of CWD in the local environment,” said Batten.

MDC is modeling this management approach after similar effective efforts in Illinois, she said.

Deer harvested through targeted culling that do not test positive for CWD are offered to the participating landowners or donated to the Share the Harvest Program for local food banks and food pantries, according to MDC.

MDC has tested nearly 130,000 deer for CWD since it began its efforts in 2001.

Click here to learn more about CWD and where it has been found in Missouri.