The state of Missouri has generally good news in its efforts to combat chronic wasting disease, although challenges remain.
“The good news is, based on the long surveillance history, and the increased surveillance in areas where we’ve seen it, the disease is relatively rare in the state,” says Jasmine Batten, wildlife disease coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “The bad news is we’ve seen it spreading into some new areas.”
The department had identified CWD in Oregon, Stone, Taney and Mercer counties.
“We’ve been looking for CWD in Missouri since the early 2000s,” Batten says. “It was first found in the state in captive deer in Macon County in 2010.”
The state has used broad preventative measures where the disease has been confirmed, including restricting mineral feeding and removing the antler point restriction which protects yearling male deer — which travel the most and could spread CWD.
They also conduct mandatory sampling during opening weekend of firearms season, and intensify harvest in management zones within 1-2 miles of where the disease has been confirmed.
“We can’t eliminate all of the disease risk out there, but we are prioritizing areas where we can have influence,” Batten says.
The department has tested more than 32,000 deer during the past year, and had 41 detections of the disease.