The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds deer hunters that Ray and Clay counties are within the state’s CWD Management Zone. A deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease last year that was harvested in western Ray County within 10 miles of Clay County. The CWD Management Zone is designed to limit the spread and effects of the disease over time in the state’s deer herd.
The November portion of the firearms deer season is Nov. 11-21. Hunters will need to take deer harvested in Ray and Clay counties during the opening weekend, Nov. 11-12, to an MDC mandatory sampling station. The sampling stations can be found online at this link or in the 2023 Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.
- In Clay County, the sampling site will be at the Earnest Shepherd Memorial Youth Center, 610 E. Shepherd Road, in Liberty.
- In Ray County, the sampling site will be at 13 Stripes Liquor Store, 11629 Missouri 13, in Richmond.
CWD sampling stations will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
CWD is a fatal disease in deer caused by misfolded proteins called prions. The disease can be transmitted between deer. MDC implements a CWD Management Zone where the disease has occurred for increased testing and other measures. The goal is to evaluate and reduce the disease prevalence in an area. Mandatory sampling is in place Nov. 11-12 for 39 of the 52 counties in the CWD Management Zone. This is the first year for Clay and Ray counties to be in the zone.
While CWD continues to spread to new counties in Missouri, the overall prevalence of the disease remains low thanks to cooperation with MDC by hunters, landowners, taxidermists, and meat processors. The Centers for Disease Control says there is no evidence of transmission of the disease from deer to humans, but the agency recommends that as a precaution meat from a positive deer not be consumed.
Throughout all of the firearms and archery deer hunting seasons, volunteer testing of deer for CWD is available at some MDC offices and partnering taxidermy and meat processing businesses. MDC also has freezer locations where deer heads can be left for testing. However, the freezers will be locked during Nov. 11-12 and hunters must take deer to the mandatory sampling stations on those dates. Lymph nodes are removed from the deer to test for CWD. Hunters can find test results for their deer at this link.
- In Ray County, a testing partner is Country Critters Taxidermy, 22723 Myers Road, Lawson, 816-820-9242. A freezer drop-off is available at Lawson Fire and Rescue Station #1, 402 East 6th St, Lawson.
- In Clay County, a testing partner is Memories of the Hunt Taxidermy, 204 S. Titus Ave., Excelsior Springs, 816-204-8760. A freezer drop-off is available at the Camp Branch Marina, 17201 Paradesian St., at Smithville Lake near Smithville.
Hunters are also reminded that special regulations apply in the CWD Management Zone regarding the transportation of carcasses and the prohibition of feed and minerals. For complete information on CWD regulations and voluntary testing sites, visit this link. An overview of voluntary testing and freezer drop-off sites in northwest Missouri is available at this link.