MDC reports final CWD results for 2021 deer season

News from the region
Published Date
04/27/2022
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that it sampled and tested more than 32,000 deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) between July 2021 and April 2022. Of the more than 32,000 deer sampled, 86 tested positive for CWD.

Those deer bring the total number of CWD cases found in the state to 292 since the first case in wild deer was found by MDC in early 2012. Including recent sampling efforts, MDC has collected more than 210,000 tissue samples for CWD testing since the disease was first detected.

Of deer tested this past season, MDC found CWD-positive deer in 18 counties: Adair (2), Barry (4), Cedar (2), Christian (2), Franklin (6), Howell (1), Jefferson (12), Linn (12), Macon (10), Oregon (6), Perry (2), Pulaski (1), Putnam (1), St. Clair (1), Ste. Genevieve (15), Stone (6), Taney (2), and Washington (1).

CWD-positive cases in Barry, Christian, Howell, and Washington counties marked the first detections of the disease in these counties.

More than 18,700 of the 32,000-plus deer tested were sampled as part of MDC mandatory CWD sampling efforts during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season, Nov. 13 and 14. Mandatory sampling required hunters who harvested deer in any of the 34 MDC CWD Management Zone counties during that weekend to present their deer for CWD sampling.

Of the more than 32,000 deer sampled, about 3,000 were collected through MDC’s partnerships with many landowners in localized areas where CWD has been found. MDC works with local landowners on a voluntary basis to remove deer through targeted culling after the close of regular deer seasons in immediate areas where CWD has been recently found.

“These landowners are critical in slowing the spread of CWD by removing additional infected deer from the landscape and reducing deer numbers in targeted areas,” said MDC Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Jasmine Batten. “Participation by landowners is entirely voluntary, and all meat from deer that do not test positive for CWD is either returned to the landowner or donated to Share the Harvest.”

Batten also thanked the hunters, taxidermists, and meat processors who helped with CWD sampling.

“We are very grateful to the thousands of deer hunters who brought in their deer for CWD sampling, along with the 109 taxidermists and 34 meat processors across the state who collected and submitted more than 9,000 CWD samples,” Batten said. “These important partners provide critical surveillance data, give hunters additional opportunities to have their deer tested, and ensure that meat from deer harvested in CWD Management Zone counties is tested before venison donations are sent to food pantries.”

CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD sampling involves cutting an incision across the throat of harvested deer to remove lymph nodes for testing. Tissue samples are sent to an independent lab for testing. CWD has been found in Missouri and is slowly spreading. MDC is working with conservation partners to find cases of CWD and limit its spread. CWD remains relatively rare in the state at this time. Learn more about CWD from the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.