The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been found in Perry (1) and Ste. Genevieve (6) counties. Four of these samples were harvested by hunters during the 2017 fall firearms season. Three of these positives were taken during postseason efforts in Ste. Genevieve county by MDC staff and partner landowners to cull additional deer within the area of recent CWD cases. These new local cases are a part of the 33 new cases identified across the state.
After the close of deer season, MDC staff worked with landowners in the affected areas on a voluntary basis to cull additional deer within an area of 3 miles of where recent cases of CWD had been found. This targeted culling effort helps limit the spread of CWD by removing potentially infected deer from the area.
Venison harvested from CWD negative deer was either kept by the landowners or donated to Share the Harvest. Matt Bowyer, MDC’s southeast region wildlife supervisor said one benefit of this management strategy is the donation of more than 3,000 pounds of venison donated to local food pantries.
“It’s always good to see neighbors supporting each other and we rely on those partnerships with local landowners, to help us manage CWD,” he said. “Now that we have test results back, it’s an encouraging thing to see meat donated to people who need it.”
Mississippi Lime Company (MLCO) owns several hundred acres within the Ste. Genevieve targeted culling area and worked extensively with MDC’s CWD efforts.
“MLCO works hard to be good stewards of the land and we strive to do everything with integrity,” said Paul Arnold, MLCO’s property manager. “We’re honored to help in the control of CWD and we’re happy to see so many negative test results come back; that’s a lot of meat that we’re able to donate from deer harvested from our company land.”
Arnold said MLCO participates in several conservation-related efforts with MDC, the Department of Natural Resources and the World Bird Sanctuary.
“We looked at this partnership in CWD testing efforts as another way to contribute to conservation, to protect our natural resources and to support the community,” Arnold said.
Joan Siebert, president of the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry in Ste. Genevieve, said donations of venison are greatly needed and appreciated.
“We need meat donations to provide to people,” Siebert said. “It’s wonderful and we greatly appreciate the donation.”
Bowyer said other good news on the CWD front is that where CWD has been found in Missouri, the numbers of positives remain relatively low.
“The positives are still low overall and we remain committed to monitoring CWD and taking action to limit the spread,” Bowyer said. “Partnerships with private landowners, such as MLCO, are essential in those efforts.”
MDC will again require mandatory sampling of deer harvested during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10 and 11, in and around counties where the disease was recently found.
“The new positives in Perry and Ste Genevieve counties could also impact surrounding counties such as Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, and Madison,” Bowyer said, adding more information on specific counties, sampling locations, and requirements will be published in MDC’s “2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet, and online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd, starting in July.
MDC will again offer voluntary CWD sampling during the entire fall and winter hunting season of deer harvested in and around counties where the disease was recently found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend hunters in areas known to have CWD test their deer before consuming the meat. Learn more about CWD at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.