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Conservation officials discuss chronic wasting disease at start of deer archery hunting season

missouri deer 9-15
Missouri Department of Conservation

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ) -

For many in Mid-Missouri and across the state, today was the first day of archery season.

Each year the Missouri Department of Conservation collects samples from the hunters to test for chronic wasting disease.  Chronic wasting disease is deadly in the white tail deer population and continues to spread in parts of the state.

"Overall, the deer population is doing great here in the state of Missouri," said Lucas Bond with the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Chad Smith with the Missouri Department of Conservation tells ABC 17 news that about half a million deer hunters buy permits to hunt in the state every year.

Last year hunters in Missouri harvested more than 295,000 deer in the state. The Missouri Department of Conservation says with the start of archery season hunters will once again be asked to submit samples for testing for the chronic wasting disease. 

"It gives us multiple opportunities to get deer samples around the state," Smith said.

In Mid-Missouri, Chariton County is one of those counties to the north in that mandatory test sites coming this November. 

“Those counties are selected based on known CWD positives in the state of Missouri," Smith said. "And those generally stay in those zones until we don't find CWD in that area."

Smith says that when it comes to the results, the state has had just under 300 deer that have tested positive for CWD since 2010 from over 230,000 samples. Hunters are encouraged to provide samples outside of the mandatory testing period in those mandatory counties.  

"We are just asking hunters to get their deer tested during archery season and then firearms season," Bond said. "We just encourage it because it does help us manage the deer population in the state and helps us manage the disease. We don't want it to get out of control and we just want to stay on top of it."

"And we want to make sure we keep it that way. that is one of the main goals of the CWD monitoring and management plan, is to keep that rate low and detect where the disease may show up next," Smith added.

Hunters who submit their harvest for testing help officials get a more accurate look at the current health of the deer population. 

"It really helps MDC determine where that disease is on landscape, and we can't manage the disease without the hunter's cooperation," Smith said.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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