The Missouri Department of Conservation is reminding landowners, deer hunters, and others that a regulation banning the feeding of deer becomes effective on May 30 for 29 counties in north-central, central, and east-central Missouri.
Grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products used to attract deer are now prohibited year-round in the following 29 counties: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Crawford, Cole, Cooper, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Louis, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, Washington, and Warren.
Exceptions to the regulation include feeding wildlife within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, feed placed in a manner that excludes access by deer, and feed and minerals used solely for normal agricultural, forest management, or wildlife food-plot-production practices.
The feeding ban is one step MDC is taking to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease that infects only deer and other members of the deer family. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. CWD is spread from deer to deer and the potential for transmission increases when deer gather in larger, concentrated numbers, such as at feeding sites.
The 29 counties affected by the feeding ban comprise the Department’s CWD Management Zone. The zone consists of counties within or that touch a radius of approximately 25 miles from where CWD has been found. According to MDC, 33 free-ranging deer in Missouri have tested positive for the disease with 21 found in Macon County, 9 in Adair, one in Cole, one in Franklin, and one in Linn.
Other MDC actions to limit the spread of CWD
The ban on feeding deer is one of several actions MDC is taking to help limit the spread of CWD. MDC also collects tissue samples from several thousand harvested, sick, and road-killed wild deer around the state each year to test for CWD. The sampling efforts focus both on areas where CWD has been found and on broader, statewide testing.
The Department will increase its CWD sampling and testing efforts in north-central, central, and east-central Missouri this fall by requiring hunters who harvest deer in one of the 29 CWD-Management-Zone counties during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season (Nov. 12 and 13) to present their deer (or the head with at least six inches of the neck intact) for CWD testing at one of 75 MDC sampling locations on the day of harvest. The testing is free and hunters can also get free test results. Sampling locations will be listed in the Department’s 2016 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet and online at mdc.mo.gov.
MDC has also removed the antler-point restriction in all CWD-Management-Zone counties starting this fall so young bucks are no longer protected from harvest. Young bucks can potentially spread the disease to new areas as they search for territories and mates.
The Department has also increased the availability of firearms antlerless permits from 1 to 2 in all CWD-Management-Zone counties starting this fall to help prevent undesired population increases in local deer numbers.
MDC also strongly discourages the removal of deer carcasses from CWD-Management-Zone counties. Moving carcasses of potentially infected deer out of the immediate area where they were harvested and improperly disposing of them can also spread the disease. Certain carcass parts, such as boned out meat, are okay to move because the protein that causes CWD is not concentrated in these parts.