The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has expanded restrictions on feeding deer and placing minerals for deer from 29 to 41 counties throughout the state, effective July 1. The goal of the expanded feeding ban is to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The 41 counties comprise MDC’s CWD Management Zone. MDC designates counties in and around where CWD has been found as part of its CWD Management Zone.
The 12 new counties are: Barry, Benton, Cedar, Dade, Hickory, Ozark, Polk, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, and Taney. They were added in response to finding CWD in Jefferson and St Clair counties during MDC’s sampling efforts last season, and the finding of CWD last year in hundreds of deer in northwest Arkansas near the Missouri border.
According to the Wildlife Code of Missouri, the placement of grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable natural and manufactured products used to attract deer is prohibited year-round within counties of the CWD Management Zone. Exceptions are feed placed within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, feed placed in such a manner to reasonably exclude access by deer, and feed and minerals present solely as a result of normal agricultural or forest management, or crop and wildlife food production practices.
The 12 new counties join these 29 existing counties of the Department’s CWD Management Zone: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Putnam, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Louis, Sullivan, Warren, and Washington.
“CWD is spread from deer to deer and the potential for transmission increases when deer gather in larger, concentrated numbers,” said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. “Feeding deer or placing minerals for deer unnaturally concentrates the animals and can help spread the deadly disease.”
Fall Mandatory Sampling in 25 Counties
As part of its efforts to find and limit the spread of CWD, MDC will again require hunters who harvest deer in any of 25 select counties of the CWD Management Zone during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season (Nov. 11 and 12) to present their harvested deer at one of 56 MDC sampling stations so tissue samples can be taken to test the animals for CWD.
The 25 mandatory CWD sampling counties include new counties added to the CWD Management Zone, counties with previous CWD positives, and counties very near previous positives. They are: Adair, Barry, Benton, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Franklin, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Moniteau, Ozark, Polk, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.
MDC will also continue to offer voluntary CWD sampling opportunities throughout the 2017-2018 deer hunting season at more than 55 participating taxidermists and designated MDC offices around the state.