For residents of Macon County, deer hunting isn't just a hobby – it's a financial necessity. But as chronic wasting disease spreads and continues to threaten Missouri's deer population, residents of the county are beginning to worry about the animals' futures as well as their own.
"We'd heard about it from other states, and now it's here. That, I guess, was the No. 1 fear. And following that is the fact that this may wipe out our deer herd." – Steve Larkins, recreational hunter and land owner
"The general public is going to have to get behind (the MDC), or they're not going to be able to control it. We, here, are all landowners." – Raymond Bloomer, recreational hunter and land owner
"I ate it and I'm still alive." — Terry Bloomer, recreational hunter, after he shot and processed a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
"The hunting industry is big for Macon, no doubt about it. You're talking two to three weeks every year that all the hotels are full, restaurants are full, even convenience stores." – Ian Rice, owner of the Gun Grove in Macon
"Everybody's worried, but they don't really know what's going on. A lot of people are just afraid they can't pass the tradition on to their kids or grandkids because the deer will be gone." – Hayden Carter, taxidermist