The Missouri Department of Conservation has added regulations to the state's wildlife code as part of efforts to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease among deer.
The MDC announced Monday that, starting in 2020, new regulations will change how deer carcasses are transported into and throughout Missouri, and there will be new carcass-disposal requirements for meat processors and taxidermists, according to a news release from the conservation department.
The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the changes at its May meeting and gave final approval at a meeting Friday.
The changes will take effect Feb. 29.
CWD has no vaccine or cure and kills all deer that are infected by prions — self-replicating proteins — that are most concentrated in the spines and heads of deer, which are members of the cervid animal family.
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"Moving potentially infected deer carcasses out of the immediate areas where they were harvested and improperly disposing of them can spread the disease. MDC has established a CWD Management Zone consisting of counties in or near where CWD has been found," according to the news release.
MDC's new regulations will:
- "Restrict transportation of whole cervid carcasses into the state.
- "Allow for the importation of cervid heads with attached capes into Missouri if they are taken to a licensed taxidermist.
- "Within the MDC CWD Management Zone, limit the transportation of whole cervid carcasses out of the county of harvest, except for whole carcasses being transported to a permitted taxidermist or meat processor within 48 hours.
- "Within the MDC CWD Management Zone, allow the transportation of 'low-risk' carcass parts out of the county of harvest, which includes meat that is cut and wrapped or boned out, quarters without the spinal column attached, antlers, and finished taxidermy products.
- "Require meat processors and taxidermists to discard cervid carcass remains in a properly permitted landfill or waste transfer station.
- "Require that meat processors and taxidermists keep records of cervid carcass disposal."
MDC will provide the full regulations in the 2020 Wildlife Code of Missouri and in the 2020 "Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information" booklet, available where permits are sold starting in early July 2020, according to the news release.
"Most states with CWD have similar restrictions on carcass movement and disposal," Jason Sumners said in the news release.
Sumners is MDC's Resource Science Division Chief and a deer biologist.
"Our deer-hunter surveys and other research shows that more than 85 percent of deer hunters would not be affected by the new regulations because they already dispose of carcasses on or near the property where the deer was harvested, or already take their harvested deer to licensed meat processors and taxidermists," he added.
More information about CWD is available at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.