The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks continues to find good news related to chronic wasting disease in an area of concern in south Mississippi. Seventy deer tested during the 2017-18 hunting season were all found to be negative for CWD, a disease that is deadly in several species of cervids including white-tailed deer.
According to MDWFP, the agency discovered a “non-permitted, high-fenced enclosure” in 2013, southwest of Hattiesburg in Lamar County. In a press release, MDWFP said an extensive investigation it undertook in conjuntion with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that animals in the enclosure had been transported from Texas facilities that were linked to CWD-positive animals.
In January 2017, a tornado struck the Hattiesburg area and damaged approximately 6,845 feet of the enclosure fence, releasing animals into the surrounding area.
MDWFP established a 5-mile radius surveillance zone around the enclosure in an effort to detect any CWD-positive animals. Hunters that harvested a deer in this zone were asked to voluntarily submit deer heads at local fire stations around the area. During the 2017-2018 season, a total of 70 samples were submitted for testing and all were returned “not detected for CWD”.
Results are posted by receipt number on www.mdwfp.com/deer.
MDWFP plans to continue this sampling method for two additional years and requests that anyone who observes a deer with ear tags in this area immediately call 1-800-BESMART.In addition, deer exhibiting signs of infection such as drooping head, excessive drooling, uncoordinated walking, or excessive weight loss should be immediately reported to MDWFP.
The first documented case of a CWD-infected deer in Mississippi in Issaquena County, found in a dead buck in Issaquena County in late January, has brought increased awareness and much concern about the disease in the state. MDWFP has collected and tested over 200 samples from the CWD containment zone in the south Delta in February and March without further detection of the disease.
For more information regarding Chronic Wasting Disease or to report a sick animal, visit https://www.mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/chronic-wasting-disease/.