The Missouri Department of Conservation has reported its first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in Pulaski County. Conservation officials are advising hunters to have their kills voluntarily tested for the disease.
The department released a statement Oct. 28 confirming they had found a case from an adult male deer harvested by a hunter near Waynesville. A tissue sample was collected from the deer for CWD testing as part of the department’s routine annual statewide surveillance for the disease.
MDC will provide hunters in the Pulaski County area with two locations to have their harvested deer sampled for CWD testing: the Richland High School parking lot and the Rural Fire Training Center on the north side of the Buckhorn exit along Interstate 44. They will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday as the state’s firearms deer season gets underway, according to Michael Fleischhauer, Resource Forester with the MDC Ozark Region office in Rolla.
“(Testers will) need at least the head and 6 inches of the neck — or hunters can bring in the whole deer and they will cut out the sample,” he said. “If it’s a really nice buck, we won’t touch those, because it will ruin the mount. But we advise those hunters to work with their taxidermist. A lot of the taxidermists cooperate with us and send samples to us — in fact, that’s how we found out about the case in Waynesville.”
After testing is completed this weekend, MDC has arranged drop-off sites with freezers for hunters wishing to have their deer tested for CWD during the remainder of the season. Each location will have instructions and materials hunters will need to provide with their samples. In Pulaski County, freezer drop-off sites will include the Fort Leonard Wood Outdoor Adventure Center, located in Bldg. 2290 on FLW K Road, and LMC Convenience Store in Waynesville, located at 1302 U.S. Route 66 at the junction of Ichord Avenue.
Sampling and test results are free.
Hunters will be able to check test results online using their Telecheck ID at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZuE. MDC will notify a hunter directly if a sample tests positive for CWD.
Hunters can find more information online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or by contacting an MDC regional office.
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 cervids it infects. There have been no reported cases of CWD infecting people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends having deer tested for CWD if harvested in an area known to have the disease. The CDC also recommends not eating meat from animals that test positive for CWD. If their deer tests positive, hunters are advised to properly dispose of the meat through a trash service.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, all CWD testing is voluntary this year, Fleischhauer said.
More information on CWD in Missouri is available online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.