Hunters, land owners learn about preventing a deadly deer disease

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Deer season in underway in Missouri, and state officials are spreading the word a deadly disease that has spread to the Southeast Region.

Dozens of hunters and land owners went a meeting at the Cape Girardeau Nature Center Tuesday night to get an over view of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, and how they can help prevent more deer from getting infected.

Barbara Keller is the Cervid Program supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation and was the main speaker. She says the goal of the meeting was to discuss regulations that are on the books for CWD Management areas, and get input on new ideas they are considering.

There have been a half dozen confirmed case of CWD in Sainte Genevieve and Perry counties, and the management areas stretch into Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison and St. Francois counties.

“Where we have found CWD seem that we have found it early on in the infection process,"Keller said. so we are not finding where we do detect positive deer, a lot of positive deer, and that means our monitoring process is working pretty well. Once it gets widespread and you have a lot of infected deer, management becomes very difficult because this disease does not have any cure or treatment."

Keller says hunters from any area can help voluntarily testing the deer they shoot for CWD and by not putting out feed or salt licks that concentrate deer in one spot.

“They can also once they harvest a deer they can dispose of that carcass properly through a trash service which goes to a landfill," Keller said. "And really the most important thing is to not move that carcass from one area to another area and dispose of it on the landscape. That is one way disease can move around.”

The Department of Conservation is considering some new rules that would limit the movement of deer carcasses from county to county and across state lines. One idea is to prohibit whole deer carcasses from being moved out of high risk CWD areas but allow finished taxidermy products and meat that is boned out or quartered as long as the head and spinal column are not attached.

Keller wants people to realize any regulations are in place to prevent CWD are there because this disease is threatening the future of Missouri’s deer.

“What we are trying to do is ensure that you can hunt deer in our state in the future and that your grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to participate in deer hunting," Keller said. "That is really important to us, so I would encourage them to think of, not the short term consequences of these regulations but for what we are trying to do for the long term health of our deer population.”

Another meeting about Chronic Wasting Disease is being held in Perryville on October 23rd at 6:30 p.m. inside the Park Center.

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