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Missouri approves special permits to slow down chronic wasting disease

Friday, October 19, 2012 | 9:25 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Special permits will be issued to 80 landowners in northwest Macon and northeast Linn counties as part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer.

The Missouri Conservation Commission, meeting Friday in Springfield, approved issuing the special permits that let hunters kill an additional deer on the designated lands.

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The special permits allow either the landowner or hunters given permission to be on their property to kill one additional buck, doe or antlerless deer. Under regular rules, hunters are limited to one antlered buck during the firearms season.

The disease is more prevalent in bucks, or male deer.

There are no restriction on antler size under the special permits and deer that are killed must be submitted to the state Department of Conservation for testing.

Since February 2010, there have been 11 cases of the disease in captive deer and five cases of the disease in free-ranging deer in parts of the two counties. The first case was discovered at a fenced-in commercial hunting operation.

Conservation Department spokesman Joe Jerek said lower deer populations in a given area can decrease the likelihood of deer contracting the disease. He put the total white-tailed deer population in Missouri at an estimated 1.4 million.

After the testing has been completed, the Department of Conservation hopes to have a better understanding of how many deer in the area targeted for special containment measures have the disease. 

Chronic wasting disease is spread by deer-to-deer contact. There were more deer at fewer watering holes during the summer, Jerek said, creating more opportunity to spread the disease.

The 80 landowners who will receive the special permits will also be given additional instructions on how to limit the spread of the disease, deer specialist Jason Sumners of the Department of Conservation said.

The special permits are being issued under a one-time provision.

Previous strategies included a ban on putting out grain or salt products in the containment zone in keeping with approaches used in Illinois and other states.

Jerek said that more information will be available on the Department of Conservation's website on Monday or Tuesday.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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