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Examiner
  • MDC seeks hunters’ help when processing harvested deer

  • Hunters play an important role in preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Agency officials urge hunters to take simple, common-sense precautions when processing deer.

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  • Hunters play an important role in preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Agency officials urge hunters to take simple, common-sense precautions when processing deer.
    CWD is caused by abnormal proteins, called prions, which can remain infective for years. The disease attacks the nervous systems of members of the deer family and is always fatal.
    Deer can become infected if they are exposed to soil containing CWD prions. One way for prions to get into soil is through improper disposal of infected, hunter-killed deer. Since many hunters process their own deer, they are key players in preventing the spread of CWD.
    CWD has been found in free-ranging deer in Macon County. MDC has established a CWD Containment Zone in Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties and has taken measures to confine the disease to this area. However, MDC officials say hunters’ help is absolutely essential to the success of containment efforts.
    “One way that CWD can spread is by the transportation of carcass parts by hunters,” said MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners. “CWD prions are concentrated in the spinal column, brain and other non-edible parts of deer that hunters normally discard. One of our challenges is to make sure hunters understand that moving deer carcasses outside the containment zone or leaving them exposed within the containment zone increases the risk of spreading the disease.”
    Sumners says he is confident that hunters will do everything they can to avoid spreading CWD if they understand how important proper carcass disposal is.
    “No one has more at stake in this effort than hunters do,” he said.
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