Chronic wasting disease creeps up amid deer season
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Conservation is searching for chronic wasting disease as hunters prepare for opening weekend of the November firearms deer season.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that Missouri’s deer hunting season starts Nov. 11 and runs through Nov. 21. Hunters are reminded there are mandatory procedures they need to follow if they harvest a deer on the season’s opening weekend in counties that are part of the department’s CWD Management Zone.
The department said chronic wasting disease infects deer and other members of the Cervidae family. It’s a neurological disease that can be passed from one deer to another. The disease is 100 percent fatal to cervids.
Symptoms of the disease include excessive salivation, drooping head, tremors, emaciation and lack of coordination. But it can take months for an infected deer to show any symptoms, giving it time to spread the disease to other deer.
The establishment of the disease could have serious recreational and economic impacts for Missouri because of the potential to reduce deer numbers and the quality of deer hunting. More than 76,000 deer have been tested in the state since 2002. More than 40 cases have been confirmed to date.
The department says it’s important to detect the disease as early as possible. Hunters who harvest a deer in any of the 25 counties that part of the CWD Management Zone must take their deer on the day of the harvest to a designated CWD sampling station. Hunters need to know the county where the deer was harvested when presenting the animal, and provide additional information that can help the tester record the location of the harvest, such as township, range and section.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com