Help Wanted Containing Chronic Wasting Disease

Help Wanted Containing Chronic Wasting Disease
The Conservation Department will continue to test for chronic wasting disease in wild deer and work with the Department of Agriculture if detected. By: David Stonner
The Conservation Department will continue to test for chronic wasting disease in wild deer and work with the Department of Agriculture if detected. By: David Stonner

The Conservation Department will continue to test for chronic wasting disease in wild deer and work with the Department of Agriculture if detected. By: David Stonner

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Hunters are important partners in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), and agency officials urge hunters to take simple precautions when processing deer.

Although there is no evidence that CWD can affect humans or domestic animals, it is always fatal to members of the deer family. It is caused by abnormal proteins, called prions, which can remain infective for years after an infected deer dies.

Deer can become infected if they are exposed to soil containing CWD prions. Prions can get into soil when infected deer or deer parts decompose on the soil surface. Since many hunters process their own deer, they are key players in slowing the spread of CWD.


“One way that CWD can spread is by the transportation and improper disposal of carcass parts by hunters,” says Conservation Department Resource Scientist Jason Sumners. “CWD prions are concentrated in the spinal column, brain and other non-edible parts of deer that hunters normally discard. It’s important for hunters to know that moving deer carcasses from one part of the state to another runs the risk of spreading CWD.”


CWD has been found in captive and free-ranging deer in Macon County. The Conservation Department has established a CWD Containment Zone in Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties and has taken measures to confine the disease to this area. Sumners says he is confident that hunters will do everything they can to avoid spreading CWD if they understand how important proper carcass disposal is.

“No one has more at stake in this effort than hunters do,” he says.

Sumners says hunters should avoid cutting through bones, the spine or brain when processing deer carcasses. If they hunt somewhere other than home, they need to bring knives and containers so they can remove meat from bones and leave behind potentially infectious material.

If hunters must transport whole carcasses, then they need to send non-edible carcass parts to state-approved landfills, where they will be properly buried. This can be accomplished by double bagging the carcass remains and sending them through municipal trash collection. If this is impractical, bury the carcass deep enough that scavengers can’t dig it up.


Preparing antlered deer for taxidermy requires different precautions. Taxidermists use artificial head forms to create mounts, so there is no reason to keep skulls, which can carry prions. When removing the cape from the carcass, also skin the head. Use a power saw to remove the antlers, along with a small portion of the skull that joins them. Clean the inside of the skull plate with chlorine bleach before leaving the area where the deer was killed.

Many hunters prefer to make their own “European” mounts, where antlers are left on deer skulls and mounted without hide. Cleaning intact skulls usually includes boiling. This is not hot enough to deactivate prions, so tissues to be discarded should be soaked for approximately one hour in a 50-percent bleach mixture to minimize any potential for those materials to be infectious.

Sumners also encourages hunters who harvest deer within the containment zone to donate tissue samples for the CWD monitoring program the Conservation Department started in 2002.


The Wildlife Code of Missouri requires hunters who harvest deer, elk, or moose out of state and bring the animal with the spinal column or head attached into Missouri to call toll free, 877-853-5665, and report the animal’s entry within 24 hours. They also must take the carcass to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry. This is designed to prevent introducing CWD into new areas of Missouri from other states.

Hunters transporting deer through Missouri en route to other states do not need to call the number.

Details about these measures are listed in the 2013 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, which is available at MDC offices, where hunting permits are sold and online at mdc.mo.gov/node/3656.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at its Stories

Guns & Loads for Long-Range Coyote Hunting

Stephen D. Carpenteri - December 13, 2015

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at...

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles were most popular with our readers. Stories

Game & Fish's Top 10 Stories of 2018

G&F Online Staff - December 24, 2018

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles...

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working? Conservation & Politics

Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order

M.D. Johnson - March 30, 2020

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now