Starting in 2020, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has added additional regulations to the Wildlife Code of Missouri as part of its ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the deadly deer disease called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The new regulations change the requirements for transporting deer carcasses into Missouri and throughout the state and also add carcass-disposal requirements for meat processors and taxidermists.
The Missouri Conservation Commission initially approved the changes at its May meeting and gave final approval at its Aug. 23 meeting in Jefferson City. The changes will become effective Feb. 29, 2020.
CWD is a deadly disease in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. The disease has no vaccine or cure and eventually kills all deer it infects. The infectious prions that cause CWD are most concentrated in the spines and heads of deer. Moving potentially infected deer carcasses out of the immediate areas where they were harvested and improperly disposing of them can spread the disease. MDC has established a CWD Management Zone consisting of counties in or near where CWD has been found. For more information on CWD, go online to www.mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
The new regulations, starting in 2020, will:
- Restrict transportation of whole cervid carcasses into the state;
- Allow for the importation of cervid heads with attached capes into Missouri if they are taken to a licensed taxidermist;
- Within the MDC CWD Management Zone, limit the transportation of whole cervid carcasses out of the county of harvest, except for whole carcasses being transported to a permitted taxidermist or meat processor within 48 hours;
- Within the MDC CWD Management Zone, allow the transportation of “low-risk” carcass parts out of the county of harvest, which includes meat that is cut and wrapped or boned out, quarters without the spinal column attached, antlers, and finished taxidermy products;
- Require meat processors and taxidermists to discard cervid carcass remains in a properly permitted landfill or waste transfer station; and
- Require that meat processors and taxidermists keep records of cervid carcass disposal.
MDC will provide the full regulations in the 2020 Wildlife Code of Missouri and in its 2020 “Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information” booklet, available where permits are sold starting in early July 2020.
“Most states with CWD have similar restrictions on carcass movement and disposal,” said MDC Resource Science Division Chief and deer biologist Jason Sumners. “CWD remains a rare disease in our state and we want to keep it that way!”
According to MDC, most deer hunters would not be affected by the proposed regulations and most meat processors and taxidermists are already properly disposing of deer carcasses.
“Our deer-hunter surveys and other research shows that more than 85% of deer hunters would NOT be affected by the new regulations because they already dispose of carcasses on or near the property where the deer was harvested, or already take their harvested deer to licensed meat processors and taxidermists,” Sumners explained.