The work continues after the discovery of a fatal illness called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is found in the Heartland.
Matt Wolken, a Supervisor at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Northeast Regional Office, said the tissue samples of one deer found in the wild tested positive for CWD since they began sampling tissues this winter. The deer was found on property near the Heartland Wildlife Ranches in Macon County.
The additional sampling began in February after the Conservation Department found two cases of CWD in wild deer during the fall firearms season.
"We're doing the testing to find out how widespread this disease is or how widespread it is not. The good news is we have only found one so far. The Department will have to formulate what action it'll take when all the testing results are complete," said Wolken.
The Department of Conservation has authorized landowners living near the Heartland Wildlife Ranches to harvest 640 deer. Wolken said those deer have been killed and their tissue samples were then sent to a laboratory. The test results for 540 of those deer have been released. Wolken said all of the test results should be back by the end of March.
This additional discovery of CWD in another wild deer comes on the heels of the Missouri Department of Agriculture announcing on March 7 that the Heartland Wildlife Ranches found two additional cases of CWD in captive white-tailed deer harvested on their property. That brings the total number of cases of CWD found in deer on their property to three within the past five months. Also, the company owns a captive hunting preserve in Linn County where a deer was diagnosed with CWD in February of 2010. According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Heartland Wildlife Ranches has harvested 320 animals and is waiting for the test results of 40 remaining samples. The Department of Agriculture said there's no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans; however if the disease is not managed among deer populations, it could kill the entire herd.
Here are the links to our previous stories:
Hundreds of deer being killed in the Heartland in order to test them for Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease found in Macon County deer