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Missouri Conservation Commission Tries To Stop Chronic Wasting Disease In Wild Deer

Credit (via Flickr/Ian Sane)

Missouri's Conservation Commission voted unanimously Friday to adopt a list of recommendations designed to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, from captive white tail deer to the wild population.

The recommendations primarily target privately owned fields, pens and reserves where trophy deer are raised to be hunted.  Mike Hubbard, chief of the Department of Conservation's (MDC) Resource Science Division, says the recommendations include banning the import of white tail deer, mule deer and their hybrids into Missouri.

"There's no approved live animal test for Chronic Wasting Disease; that's been stated several times," Hubbard said.  "Healthy-appearing animals can have the disease for months, if not years, and (while) moving around, may end up never being tested under current guidelines."

Private owners would also be required to keep their deer at their licensed reserves at all times. Exemptions that currently allow deer to be transported to temporary exhibits and auction sites would be permanently revoked.

"The reality is we need to be able not just to track the movement of white tail deer through time, but we also need to be able to determine all the animal associations that are occurring during those movements," Hubbard said.

An open comment period on the recommendations will run from July 16-Aug. 14.  After that, they will either be added to the state's wildlife code as-is, amended, or rejected.  Other recommendations include:

  • Improving fencing requirements for captive-cervid facilities
  • Requiring all deer age 6 months or older that die in an MDC-licensed facility to be tested for CWD
  • Establishing better record-keeping requirements for MDC-licensed captive-cervid operations
  • Prohibiting any new captive-cervid facilities within 25 miles of where CWD has been confirmed

Chronic Wasting Disease was first detected in northern Missouri four years ago at private hunting reserves in Linn and Macon counties, and a few free-ranging deer near the preserves were also found to be infected.  The disease is 100 percent fatal, has no cure, and can currently only be detected once a deer in question is dead.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
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