Chronic Disease Testing Becomes Mandatory

by Margaret Slayton, St. Joseph News-Press

There will be new mandatory testing of whitetail deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in two counties in Northwest Missouri during the opening weekend of deer season this fall according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Barbara Keller, resource scientist, said hunters will be required to present their deer for CWD testing at locations in Livingston and Carroll counties during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13.

The testing is free and hunters also can request the test results. Hunters must bring the deer to sampling stations at various locations during the opening weekend of the season.

While the disease has not be detected in either county, it has been confirmed in the nearby counties of Linn, Macon and Adair in the central portion of the state. All counties within a 25-mile radius of CWD positive deer are included in the CWD management zone.

The department also will continue to work with meat processors and taxidermists in the 29 counties to provide free CWD testing during other parts of the upcoming deer-hunting seasons.

The agency will also continue its broader ongoing CWD monitoring efforts with a focus on the northern half of the state for the upcoming season.
Nearly 2,700 of the deer tested last fall and winter were part of this broader CWD monitoring and the focus was on the southern half of Missouri. No deer from southern Missouri were found to be positive for CWD.

Seven were confirmed in the state to be positive for the fatal deer disease. Three were from Adair County, two from Macon County, one from Linn County and one from Franklin County.

The new cases bring the total number of Missouri free-ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to 33 since the disease was first discovered in the state at a captive deer facility in 2010. Of the 33 cases, 21 have been found in Macon County, 9 in Adair, one in Cole, one in Franklin and one in Linn.
In addition, the conservation department has recommended the antler point restriction be repealed by the Missouri Conservation Commission this week. The number of firearms antlerless permits will also increase from one to two in Livingston and Carroll counties.

Keller said the purpose of these regulations are to decrease the spread and prevalence of CWD. The disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of the brain. There is no vaccine or cure and it is 100-percent fatal.

The approved changes will be published in the Missouri Code of State Regulations at www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/csr and will become effective on July 1.