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MDC proposes new regulations for CWD management zones

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – At its meeting on Dec. 11, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved recommendations for regulation changes to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The disease has been found in free-ranging deer from Adair, Cole, Macon, and, most recently, Franklin counties.

The proposed regulations would require mandatory sampling and testing for CWD of harvested deer taken in MDC’s CWD management zones during the opening weekend of the November portion of the 2016 fall firearms deer season, Nov. 12 and 13.

The proposed regulations would also prohibit the feeding of deer and use of deer attractants such as grain, salt, and mineral products in MDC’s CWD management zones. Feeding deer unnaturally concentrates deer in a small area, which can help spread the disease. Exceptions to the regulation include feeding of wildlife within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, feed placed in a manner that excludes access by deer, feed and minerals used solely for normal agricultural, forest management, or wildlife food-plot-production practices.

MDC’s proposed CWD management zones include all counties within a 25-mile radius of where a CWD-positive deer has been found. Those 27 counties in northeast, central, and east-central Missouri can be found on the MDC website at www.mdc.mo.gov/CWDManagementZones.

A regulation banning supplemental feeding of deer has been in place since 2012 in Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties in Northeast Missouri, where the first cases of CWD in the state were found.

Missouri’s rulemaking process includes a 30-day public comment period. Full verbiage of the proposed regulation changes will be posted on the MDC website after Jan. 1, 2016. Comments related to the proposed regulation changes can be submitted to the Conservation Department from Jan. 16 through Feb. 14, 2016 at http://mdc.mo.gov/node/24141%20.

MDC continues to ask hunters who harvest deer in the CWD management zones to avoid moving deer carcasses out of the zones, to properly dispose of deer carcasses, to report deer that appear sick or diseased to MDC staff, and to have all deer harvested in the CWD management zones sampled and tested for CWD.

Chronic Wasting Disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of brain tissue, which slowly leads to death. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. For more information on CWD, visit the MDC website at www.mdc.mo.gov/CWD.