PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Conservation aims to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer populations with the expansion of its disease management zone.
The Southeast Missourian reported the agency plans to expand the CWD management zone from 41 to 48 counties. It will now include Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties.
The department will require landowners and hunters to stop feeding deer and placing minerals for them, starting July 1.
The Wildlife Code of Missouri prohibits the placement of grain, salt products, minerals and other consumables used to attract deer year-round in a management zone, according to a department release. However, feed may be placed within 100 feet of any residence, occupied building or for agricultural purposes, including feeding livestock or growing food for crop or livestock.
Hunters also will be required to participate in mandatory sampling during the first two days of the statewide gun season, said Matt Bowyer, department wildlife regional supervisor.
Bowyer said the disease is difficult to manage. He also said the disease is a large threat to the state's deer population over the long term.
"It progresses slowly, but marches through," he said.
The agency has said chronic wasting disease was first discovered in 2010. The disease affects the central nervous systems of deer, elk and moose.
The department confirmed 33 new cases of the disease after testing nearly 24,500 free-ranging Missouri deer last year, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 75 since 2010.