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Third wild Missouri deer tests positive for chronic wasting disease

Friday, March 9, 2012 | 2:25 p.m. CST; updated 8:21 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 23, 2012

*Local landowners had been authorized to kill deer alongside conservation agents for out-of-season research in one 140-square-mile area surrounding the infected private hunting preserve in Macon County. An earlier version of this story misstated where the hunt took place.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Conservation Department confirmed finding one additional wild white-tailed deer infected with chronic wasting disease — this time a doe.

The doe is the third wild Missouri deer found with the disease since testing began in 2002. The state's first two wild bucks infected with the syndrome were announced by the Conservation Department in late-January.

Chronic wasting disease lethally affects cervids such as elk, moose and deer.

The afflicted doe was killed within one mile of the Heartland Wildlife Ranch in Macon County and within about one-quarter of a mile from where Missouri’s first two infected wild bucks were killed, Jason Sumners, deer biologist for the Conservation Department, said.

The Missouri Agriculture Department announced Wednesday that two additional captive deer tested positive for the disease at the Macon County ranch. The ranch is in the process of killing all of its captive game as a result of previous infections, Christine Tew, Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said.

The infected wild doe was identified from about 650 recently slain deer that were provided by Macon and Linn County landowners, and conservation agents, Matt Wolken, supervisor at the Conservation Department’s northeast office, said.

Local landowners had been authorized to kill deer alongside conservation agents for out-of-season research in an approximately 140-square-mile area surrounding the infected private hunting preserve in Macon County,*  Sumners said.

The new hunt for the disease began after the Conservation Department announced finding the first two wild cases of chronic wasting disease in Missouri's wild deer.

The hunt was a means for the Conservation Department to assess the disease’s possible spread into Missouri’s wild, Sumners said.

The Conservation Department finished its hunt Sunday and sent off the last tissues samples Monday, he said. The department will announce the complete results and the implications for Missouri’s wild deer in about two weeks, as some samples have yet been processed, Sumners said.


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