According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and current research, infectious diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) could hurt all of this.
"CWD has been found in captive deer and free-ranging deer in north-central Missouri," explained MDC State Veterinarian Kelly Straka. "This neurological disease is currently limited to deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. It has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal. Once it is well established in an area, CWD is impossible to eradicate. If left unchecked, it could significantly reduce deer numbers over time."
Dr. Straka added that states with CWD must focus on limiting the spread of the disease and preventing its introduction to new areas, and that is exactly what MDC is doing.
Both free-ranging and captive white-tailed deer in Missouri are wildlife.
Department of Conservation working to detect CWD
The Department of Conservation has been working with hunters, landowners, conservation partners, and businesses to detect cases of this infectious disease and limit its spread in free-ranging deer. MDC has also made regulation changes affecting free-ranging deer in the area where CWD has been found.
MDC is also working with the captive cervid industry, landowners, hunters, and others to address areas of concern related to captive deer and other captive cervids. There are 47 big-game hunting preserves and 253 wildlife breeders in the state that have captive deer and other captive cervids.
Missouri's first cases of CWD were detected in 2010 and 2011 in captive deer at private big-game hunting preserves in Linn and Macon counties. A total of 11 cases of CWD have been confirmed in captive deer at the facilities. CWD has since been found in 10 free-ranging deer within two miles of the captive facility in Macon County.
Based on current scientific research, and Conservation Department management priorities, MDC has identified several areas of concern related to disease transmission and captive cervids. Those items include the separation of captive and free-ranging wildlife populations, movement of captive wildlife, disease testing, and herd certification.