SPRINGFIELD, Mo — The Missouri Department of Conservation needs your help in keeping Chronic Wasting Disease out of Missouri’s deer population.
10 counties in the Ozarks have been issued a prohibition on feeding, and more could come in the future if the deadly deer disease isn’t kept under control.
The disease is often spread by the saliva of deer that are in close contact with one another, which is why it is important to remove any grain, and salt or mineral blocks immediately within those counties.
Trail cams like this one on Tom Shook’s farm in western Greene County are often made possible by grain, salt, or mineral rocks. However in 29 counties across the Show-Me State, feeding, is now prohibited.
“The possibility for this disease to spread is a fact,” said Tim Russell, Missouri Department of Conservation Wildlife Regional Supervisor.
Chronic Wasting Disease has a 22 percent prevalence rate in Arkansas, and Missouri is trying to keep those numbers from spreading.
“Any time we concentrate deer to feed together, like on a salt block or mineral block, that saliva can be shared and they have a high potential to contract that disease,” said Russell.
After 2 positive tests in St. Claire county, all counties within a 25 mile radius are now subject to a non-feeding policy, as well as mandatory sampling stations in the fall. Hunters that harvest a deer will be required to bring the carcass to one of those stations for a tissue sample. It’s currently the only way to test for the fatal neurological disease.
This includes 10 counties around Springfield: 6 north, and 4 along the Arkansas border. Ozark county is one of the more recent to that list.
“We need their help to test for this disease. As soon as it crops up, we want to take the precautionary measures to address that situation,” said Russell.
The Department of Conservation has been testing for CWD in deer since 2001, and most of their efforts have prevented the disease from becoming wide-spread.
If you think a deer may be sick, you can take a picture and send it to the DOC. This is often helpful to them when it comes to diagnosing a deer.
For more information, including a list to all the counties and regulations in place, visit www.mdc.mo.gov.