Chronic Wasting Disease: What You Need to Know
Video by Michaela Parker (Deer footage: Colin Perry and Hayes Wood)
Hunting is a Big Deal in our family, and the news in mid-October that a second deer in Mississippi had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, was met with dismay.
Not only is CWD devastating to the individual deer that contract the disease – it’s fatal – it can have a negative impact on the entire state’s herd. This in turn hurts the people in our communities whose businesses rely on recreational hunters, who contribute over $1 billion in related revenue in our state annually. Over time, it may impact property values as well.
CWD can be transmitted to other animals in the deer family, such as elk, moose, or mule deer. As of now, it is not known to be transmissible to domesticated animals or humans. However, experts recommend not consuming meat from an animal diagnosed with CWD, just to be on the safe side.
For an overview of important information, read Extension publication 3199, “What You Need to Know About Chronic Wasting Disease in Mississippi Deer,” by Extension wildlife biologist Dr. Bronson Strickland.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is responsible for managing the state’s deer herd. They do this in several ways, including setting the hunting seasons and number of deer that can be harvested. They also have a plan for addressing CWD in order to help stop its spread.
They have a variety of resources available online, such as best management practices, maps, fact sheets, and videos.
If you see a sick deer, use MDWFP’s online form to report it.
If you hunt, please participate in the statewide sampling program to help scientists map the location of infected deer. A list of sample collection sites is available online. This site includes videos on how to properly take a sample.
Please do your part to help protect our state’s important natural resources by abiding by the laws designed to prevent the spread of this disease!
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