CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Hundreds of hunters brought their deer to several Missouri Department of Conservation sampling sites for Chronic Wasting Disease across several Heartland Counties.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD kills all deer and other cervids it infects according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The disease has been found in Missouri and is slowly spreading. The Missouri Department of Conservation is working with conservation partners to find cases and limit its spread. CWD remains relatively rare in the state at this time.
At this time there are 31 counties for mandatory sampling in Missouri. Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Perry, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Washington Counties are the only ones mandatory in the Heartland area.
We talked with MDC Outreach and Education Supervisor A. J. Henderschott said sampling for CWD is important, especially for certain areas.
“This sampling that we’re doing this year is really important because it helps us identify where Chronic Wasting Disease is located and also where it’s not located," said Henderschott “That’s pretty important. Where we do find it, it gives us options for what we’re going to do to limit the spread of the disease.”
If they do find the disease, there are efforts to eliminate it in the area it was brought in from.
"We take a very targeted approach where we go into a small area, maybe 5 miles square," Henderschott said. "We are going to take a look at the population, as much as we can. We want to do some removal of some deer and reduce the number that are out there. What that does is it reduces the opportunity for an infected deer to spread it to another deer."
Henderschott said they remove almost 50 percent of CWD deer during winter operations.
"This is something where we are working together to protect the herd to make sure that deer hunting is around for generations down the road," Henderschott stated.
In the last few years, deer were found to have the Chronic Wasting Disease in Ste. Genevieve County and one deer with the CWD in Perry County last year.
For more information on where to find the sampling sites or on Chronic Wasting Disease, go to www.mdc.mo.gov.