MDC reminds deer hunters of CWD Mandatory Sampling Nov. 13-14

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds deer hunters that it will be holding mandatory CWD sampling during opening weekend of the November portion of firearms season, Nov. 13 and 14, for hunters who harvest deer in MDC CWD Management Zone counties.

CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD can be spread from direct deer-to-deer contact, through improper disposal of deer carcasses, and through the environment by deer contacting infectious material from other deer. Hunters play a critical role in helping MDC manage the disease by having their deer tested and following carcass-movement restrictions. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

CWD Management Zone
MDC designates counties where CWD has been found and counties within 10 miles of where CWD has been found as part of its CWD Management Zone. The CWD Management Zone counties are: Adair, Barry, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Laclede, Linn, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington. Camden, Laclede, McDonald, and Pulaski counties were added to the CWD Management Zone this year.

Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 13 and 14
Hunters who harvest deer in any counties in the CWD Management Zone during opening weekend of the November portion of firearms deer season (Nov. 13 and 14) are required to take their harvested deer or the head on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s numerous CWD mandatory sampling stations located throughout the zone. Sampling and test results are free. MDC staff working these locations will follow COVID-19 health-safety guidelines.

Hunters must present their deer to a CWD mandatory sampling station within the county of harvest, with a few exceptions. Deer that will end up being delivered to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 48 hours, or deer heads that will be left at the MDC CWD mandatory sampling station for disposal after sampling, may be transported to a sampling station in any county.

Find CWD mandatory sampling station locations online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or from MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

CWD sampling takes only a few minutes and consists of MDC staff cutting an incision across the throat of harvested deer to remove lymph nodes for testing. Tissue samples are sent to an independent lab for testing. Hunters will be given a card with information on getting free test results for their deer after samples are processed. Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdResults. Results are usually available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling.

Hunters presenting bucks bound for taxidermy should inform MDC staff. Staff will complete paperwork and inform the hunters about participating taxidermists taking CWD tissue samples. The cape may also be removed from the animal prior to being taken to a sampling station.

Before arriving at a CWD mandatory sampling station:

Field dress and Telecheck deer.
Bring the carcass or just the head.
Capes may be removed in preparation for taxidermy prior to arriving at a station.
Position deer in vehicles with head and neck easily accessible.
Be sure the person who harvested the deer is present.
Be prepared to find the location of harvest on a map.
If using a paper permit, have it detached from the deer for easy access.
If using the MO Hunting app, have permit information available.

Mandatory CWD sampling dramatically increases the number of tissue samples MDC can collect in a brief period of time. The increased number of samples gives MDC scientists a much better understanding of the distribution and prevalence of the disease — where it is and how many deer may have it. It can also help find new cases in new areas.

Opening weekend of the November portion of firearms deer season is the most popular two hunting days for most deer hunters. Hunters take about a third of the state’s total annual deer harvest during those two days. Focusing on this key weekend gives MDC the best opportunity to collect the most tissue samples during a very concentrated time period.

Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season Statewide
MDC is also offering statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state. Locations include select MDC offices during regular business hours, cooperating taxidermists and meat processors (hours vary), and self-service freezers where hunters can leave deer heads for sampling and testing.

Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdResults. Results are usually available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling. Find voluntary sampling locations and more information online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or by contacting an MDC regional office at mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage/regional-mdc-offices.

Carcass Movement Restrictions
Hunters must follow carcass-movement restrictions for deer harvested in a CWD Management Zone county and when bringing parts of harvested deer and other harvested cervids, such as elk or moose, into Missouri from another state.

For hunters who harvest deer in Missouri from a CWD Management Zone county:

Deer must be Telechecked before any parts of the carcass may be transported out of the county of harvest.
Whole carcasses may only be transported out of the county of harvest if delivered to a licensed meat processor.
Deer heads may only be transported out of the county of harvest if delivered to a licensed taxidermist or an approved CWD sampling station within 48 hours of exiting the county of harvest. However, on Nov. 13-14, deer, or the head, must be taken on the day of harvest to a CWD mandatory sampling station.
The following carcass parts may be moved outside of the county of harvest without restriction:
Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out.
Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed.
Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue.
Finished taxidermy products.

For hunters bringing harvested deer and other cervids into Missouri from another state:

Hunters may no longer transport whole cervid carcasses into the state.
Heads from cervids with the cape attached and no more than six inches of neck attached may be brought into Missouri only if they are delivered to a licensed taxidermist within 48 hours of entering Missouri.
There is no longer a requirement that cervid carcass parts coming into the state be reported to the MDC carcass transport hotline.
The following cervid parts can be transported into Missouri without restriction:
Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out.
Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed.
Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue.
Upper canine teeth.
Finished taxidermy products.

Learn more about hunting safety, CWD mandatory sampling, and carcass disposal through the MDC video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5uABH77Oo.

Share the Harvest
MDC encourages deer hunters to share their harvest. Missouri’s Share the Harvest program helps deer hunters donate venison to those in need. To participate, take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison is to be donated.

Deer harvested within the CWD Management Zone may only be donated to approved processors in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program and must be tested for CWD to be accepted for donation. Deer that are sampled for CWD prior to delivery to the processor must have the MDC CWD barcode number when presented to the processor. Participating processors will sample or collect the head from all other deer harvested in the CWD Management Zone.

Deer harvested outside of the CWD Management Zone may be donated to any Share the Harvest processor. Learn more online at mdc.mo.gov/share or from MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.