MDC public meeting in Springfield seeks input on CWD threat to deer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at its Springfield Conservation Nature Center. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on Missouri deer and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and to get comments about limiting the spread of CWD among captive and free-ranging deer.

Based on current scientific research and Conservation Department management priorities, MDC has identified several areas of concern related to disease transmission and captive cervids. Those items include the separation of captive and free-ranging wildlife populations, movement of captive wildlife, disease testing and herd certification.

“CWD has been found in captive deer and free-ranging deer in north-central Missouri,” said MDC State Wildlife Veterinarian Kelly Straka. “This neurological disease is currently limited to deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. It has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. Once it is well-established in an area, CWD is impossible to eradicate.”

The Department of Conservation has been working with hunters, landowners, conservation partners and businesses to detect cases of this infectious disease and limit its spread in free-ranging deer. MDC has also made regulation changes affecting free-ranging deer in the area where CWD has been found.

MDC is also working with the captive cervid industry, landowners, hunters, and others to address areas of concern related to captive deer and other captive cervids. There are 47 big-game hunting preserves and 253 wildlife breeders in the state that have captive deer and other captive cervids.

Missouri’s first cases of CWD were detected in 2010 and 2011 in captive deer at private big-game hunting preserves in Linn and Macon counties. A total of 11 cases of CWD have been confirmed in captive deer at these facilities. CWD has since been found in 10 free-ranging deer within two miles of the captive facility in Macon County.

Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in America. Deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians’ lives and family traditions, including almost 520,000 deer hunters and almost two million wildlife watchers. Deer hunting also gives Missouri an important economic boost. Deer hunting supports 12,000 Missouri jobs and gives a $1 billion annual boost to state and local economies.

The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located at 4601 S. Nature Center Way in Springfield. Call MDC's Southwest Regional Office at 417-895-6880, or the Nature Center at 417-888-4237, for more information about this meeting. Information can also be found by searching for “chronic wasting disease” at mdc.mo.gov.

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