State wildlife officers used a two-year-old law to confiscate a CWD-infected mule deer from a DeSoto County hunter, who was then issued a citation, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks announced on Monday.

According to the agency, the hunter had returned from Wyoming with the remains of the mule when Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department contacted him to report that the mule deer had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease by the Wyoming State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Laramie.

The agency confirmed that the hunter then notified the MDWFP, which dispatched conservation officers to collect the remains of the mule deer, a cervid related to Mississippi’s native white-tailed deer. 

According to the MDWFP, the hunter had not processed the animal as required by the Mississippi law, which was passed to protect the state’s deer herd from infected animals brought into Mississippi by hunters. The officers then issued the hunter the citation.

Under 40 Mississippi Administration Code, Part 2, Rule 2.7, passed in 2016, “it is unlawful to import, transport, or possess any portion of a cervid carcass originating from any state, territory, or foreign country where the occurrence of CWD has been confirmed by either the state wildlife agency, state agriculture agency, state veterinarian, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

However, hunters may bring the following into Mississippi:

* Meat from cervids that has been completely deboned.

* Antlers, and antlers attached to cleaned skull plates or cleaned skulls where no tissue is attached to the skull.

* Cleaned teeth.

* Finished taxidermy and antler products.

* Hides and tanned products.

* Any portions of white-tailed deer originating from the land between the Mississippi River levees in Arkansas.

According to the MDWFP, the hunter had properly cleaned the head and skull plate, but had only quartered the body of the mule deer, leaving meat on the bone. The citation was issued for that, and the meat and bone were confiscated and incinerated.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects cervids that include white-tailed, mule, red, sika and fallow deer, plus elk, moose and caribou. It has been found in 21 states and two Canadian provinces. The closest states to Mississippi with CWD confirmation are Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.

Mississippi intends to remain off that list for as long as possible.

“It is our duty to protect the state’s natural resources, and the public health, safety and welfare,” said Colonel Steve Adcock, Chief of Law Enforcement for the MDWFP. “This regulation will hopefully help us to prevent something catastrophic from occurring here in Mississippi.”