The Missouri Department of Conservation is taking measures to save the deer population in the state.
Correction: This story previously reported that Chronic Wasting Disease had spread to 19 out 114 Missouri counties. It has been found in only four counties.
Since 2010, Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in four of 114 Missouri counties. The disease results in degeneration of brain tissue which slowly leads to death.
“Since the disease is believed to be 100% fatal with no cur: over the long term, it can spread to more and more deer and ultimately have a significant impact on the deer population,” said Missouri Department of Conservation Spokesperson Joe Jerek.
With archery season underway and firearm season coming up, the Missouri Department of Conservation asks for hunters and landowners to do 4 key things. The department asks for deer carcasses to stay in the county they were killed, not to feed deer or place minerals for the deer to eat and test deer. They also strongly ask for people to call their local Department of Conservation office if they see a deer that looks ill.
CWD is only transmissible between deer and other members of the deer family, so people should not worry about getting infected. However, the center of disease control advises people not to consume affected deer meat.
Though not all counties in Missouri are affected, hunters from all over are concerned with the decreased deer population. Mark Rarrick, owner of Archery Quest said for Springfield County blue tongue has taken a toll on its deer population.
“Some years ago blue tongue hit real hard and it hurt the deer population quite badly, and I don’t think it’s quite recovered at this point,” Rarrick said.
Unlike CWD, blue tongue is a disease that is not as contagious because it is transmitted by insects in muddy areas.