By Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks confirmed a second case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which was discovered in Pontotoc County, Mississippi on October 8.
Earlier this year, Mississippi became the 25th state to record a positive case of CWD. The location of this most recent deer, in northeast Mississippi, is 150 miles away from the first CWD case found in Issaquena County.
Following two positive CWD results on this specific deer from the Mississippi Veterinary and Diagnostic Lan in Pearl, MS, it also tested positive at the National Veterinary Sciences Laboratory in Iowa.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has now enacted its CWD Response Plan for the area, and established the Pontotoc CWD Management Zone, which includes Pontotoc and Union counties as well as all portions of Lee County. Within that zone, it is now illegal to: provide supplemental feed to wildlife, establish or use supplemental mineral sites, transport certain parts of deer outside of the zone, and trap feral swine without a permit from the MDWFP.
Tissue samples in the Pontotoc CWD Management Zone will be collected from deer harvested by hunters, as opposed to MDWFP active shooting operations that were previously administered. Check stations staffed by MDWFP will be available throughout the CWD management zones during specific days during the season. Additionally, four drop-off locations within the zone will provide freezers where hunters can leave deer to be tested.
The MDWFP has been regularly testing deer for CWD since 2002 and the over 14,000 tests in that time have yielded zero positive results. Both CWD cases in Mississippi have been reported by the public.
Recently, many states across the Southeast have taken measures to reduce the risks of the potential spread of CWD in their states by implementing more strict importation bans of harvested cervids and cervid parts. Some states have also moved forward with a ban on natural urine-based scents.
MDWFP is hosting a public meeting to discuss CWD at the North Pontotoc Attendance Center on Thursday, November 8 at 6:00 pm, where they will provide information on CWD and the response plan.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?