JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) thanks the many deer hunters who participated in its tissue sampling efforts in 30 counties Nov. 14 and 15 to find cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in harvested deer. Thanks to hunter participation, MDC collected tissue samples of lymph nodes from approximately 2,780 hunter-harvested deer for CWD testing. Lymph nodes are one area in deer where CWD is concentrated. 

“Although sampling in the 30 counties of our CWD Management Zone on opening weekend was voluntary and not mandatory this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we greatly appreciate the participation of the many hunters who presented their deer for sampling,” said MDC Deer Biologist Kevyn Wiskirchen who coordinated the sampling-weekend efforts. “Hunters play a key role in the surveillance that keeps CWD rare in Missouri.”

MDC’s CWD sampling efforts during the opening weekend of the November portion of the fall firearms deer season have been mandatory in past years for counties in or near where CWD has been found. Last year this included 29 counties and resulted in more than 18,800 tissue samples collected. In 2018, MDC collected more than 20,000 tissue samples opening weekend in 31 counties.

Wiskirchen reminds hunters that they can still have their harvested deer sampled for free through the end of the season (Jan. 15, 2021) through more than 140 partnering taxidermists and meat processors around the state. Find sampling locations and more online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season.”

“These samples play a critical role in detecting CWD in new areas of the state and are especially important this season because of the significantly lower number of samples collected by MDC staff on opening weekend due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. 

Hunters who submitted tissue samples from their harvested deer for CWD testing can get free test results for their deer online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Get Test Results for Your Deer.”

CWD is a deadly disease in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family. MDC’s CWD sampling and testing efforts find cases of the deadly disease to help the Department limit its spread. According to MDC, the prevalence of CWD is still very low in the state. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “CWD in Missouri.”

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