MDC is now focusing on managing CWD in the immediate areas where new and recent cases of the disease have been found. MDC staff are again working with landowners on a voluntary basis through mid-March in the immediate areas (approximately 1-2 square miles) around where recent cases of CWD have been found to harvest and test additional deer for the disease.
“Post-season targeted culling is a proven method of slowing the growth of CWD in a local deer population and, as a result, minimizing the accumulation of CWD in the local environment,” said Batten.
She added that MDC is modeling this management approach after similar effective efforts in Illinois.
“Illinois is showing success in stabilizing CWD prevalence through targeted culling and reports a steady 1% prevalence statewide over time,” Batten said. “In contrast, since stopping its targeted-culling management efforts in 2007, the state of Wisconsin continues to see a steady increase in CWD prevalence. Some local areas of southwest Wisconsin are seeing over 50% of adult bucks with the disease.”
MDC staff and participating landowners have taken a total of about 4,600 deer through targeted culling since the Department began the effort several years ago. Post-season targeted culling accounts for just approximately 4% of all CWD samples MDC has collected so far but has resulted in finding almost half of all CWD cases in Missouri.
Batten added that deer harvested through targeted culling that do not test positive for CWD are offered to the participating landowners or donated to the Share the Harvest Program for local food banks and food pantries. Deer that test positive for CWD are properly disposed of by MDC staff or meat processors.
Learn more about MDC’s efforts at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “Post-Season Targeted Culling.”