Deer hunters are hunting deer…while the conservation department hunts something in the deer. The good news is that it hasn’t been found.
The conservation department has been watching for signs of Chronic Wasting Disease for some time. It’s a disease that attacks the nervous system of deer and other animals of the cervid family such as elk, and moose. It’s always fatal and can spread from deer and their family in the wild to similar animals in captive herds.
The conservation department’s Lonnie Hansen says hunters are the keys to spotting the disease here.
“We are finishing up the third year…This year we’re in southern Missouri. We’re collecting samples through taxidermists,” he says.
Chronic Wasting Disease has not yet jumped species. In other words, it has not been transferred to humans. It has been found in some deer in western Kansas and northern Illinois–those are the closest places–and about a dozen more distant states.
Each year the conservation department checks deer taken in one-third of the state, beginning in 2007 in northern Missouri.
The present deer season ends next Tuesday but three other deer hunting seasons come next.